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Most Rev. Michael Hughes Kenny

Born: June 26, 1937

Ordained: March 30, 1963

Ordained Bishop: May 27, 1979

Died: February 19, 1995

Funeral services will be held Saturday in Juneau, Alaska, for Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Kenny, 57, a longtime champion of world peace and human rights.

Bishop Kenny, head of the Diocese of Juneau since 1979, died Feb. 18 while touring ancient ruins north of Amman, Jordan. The apparent cause of death was an aneurysm, a weakness or break in a blood vessel that can result in hemorrhaging.

The Hollywood native, known both for his pleasant nature and his staunch opposition to the nuclear-arms race, drew attention in Seattle during the early 1980s as an ally to the then-Seattle Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen, who for a time was relieved of many of his responsibilities by the Vatican.

Bishop Kenny also protested side by side with Hunthausen in 1986 against the arrival in Puget Sound of the nuclear submarine Alaska.

In a letter Bishop Kenny wrote to a Juneau newspaper, he said it was a disgrace to give that name - which means "the great land" - to a craft designed to "desecrate the land."

He also joined a delegation to Iraq during the Persian Gulf War.

In the area of human rights, Bishop Kenny was a strong advocate for ordaining women as priests. He opposed the death penalty and abortion. And in 1991, Kenny helped organize a reconciliation service to apologize for the church's past wrongs against Native Alaskans.

Sister Miriam Spencer of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Seattle said Bishop Kenny was a man of great conviction and compassion.

"What he was to me was a man of courage, who stood up for his beliefs," Spencer said.

Bishop Kenny will be interred at the Shrine of St. Therese in Juneau near Joseph Crimont, the first bishop of Alaska.

Seattle News, 2/27/1995