A broken leg and a trip to the emergency room in 1977 might have been one of the luckiest “breaks” in Jan Kennady’s life. It was certainly a lucky break for New Braunfels, because we gained a volunteer extraordinaire, a mayor, a county commissioner, a preservationist, and a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
During a family football game at Canyon Lake, Jan broke her leg and met Dr. Donald Kennady, the on-call doctor, at McKenna Hospital. After a long distance romance, the two married and Jan moved from Houston to make New Braunfels her new home. She briefly worked part-time at New Braunfels Presbyterian Church but resigned when her job schedule began to interfere with her volunteer commitments!
Jan threw herself wholeheartedly into her new community. She has served in over twenty five civic, cultural, political and educational organizations in Comal County during the past thirty three years. At the local level, she was President of Community Service Center, Comal County Medical Auxiliary, Comal Garden Club, New Braunfels Book Review Club, New Braunfels Republican Women, Mid-Texas Symphony Guild, Hospice New Braunfels, New Braunfels Council of Garden Clubs, New Braunfels Toastmasters, Communities in Schools, Homespun and Upstarts. At the state level, she’s been President of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians Auxiliary, the Texas Women’s Education Foundation, and the Texas Federation of Republican Women. One of her most recent volunteer jobs was serving as campaign co-chairman to build the current Tye Preston Memorial Library in Canyon Lake.
After being asked to run for city council and serving one term as a council member from 1993-1996, Jan became the first woman elected mayor of New Braunfels. City council meetings began to be televised as she had pledged to do during her campaign. Under her leadership, she adopted the first comprehensive plan approved in several years, built the New Braunfels Public Library, partnered with Comal County to restore the historic Faust Bridge, and remodeled a building to house the Police Department.
Jan was elected President of the Texas Federation of Republican Women for two terms in 1996 and traveled to over 150 counties. She decided to run for and was elected as County Commissioner, Precinct 4 where she worked on the adopted county strategic plan, the parks program, transportation projects, and historical preservation. Her most significant work for county citizens was spearheading the efforts to guarantee the restoration of the historic courthouse and its Rededication Ceremony held on January 22, 2013.
Jan has been honored with dozens of outstanding awards, including: Circle Arts Theatre Standing Ovation Award, Good Samaritan Award from the Community Service Center, the Toastmasters President’s Award, the Girl Scout’s Women of Distinction Award, and the PTA Life Member Award. She’s been the Herald Zeitung’s Citizen of the Year, received the President’s Award from the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, was named a Princess of the City by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, and a recipient of the Ten Outstanding Award from the Texas Federation of Republican Women. Her picture hangs in the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Honor, and she has received the esteemed Besserung Award from the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce – just to name a few of her many honors.
Jan has three children, Lisa, Rocky and Vance, and five grandchildren, J.J., Jessica, Tess, Hunter, and Cameron and one great grand-daughter, Lexie. She and Don have lived in New Braunfels for thirty three years now, and she considers being a part of this charming, dynamic city a gift beyond her wildest dreams. She is thankful every day for the warm and wonderful people who welcomed her with open arms, and it is a pleasure of the Braunfels Foundation Trust to welcome her as a Living Legend of New Braunfels.