JACKSON – (AP) Edgar Douglas “Doug” Kenna II, the quarterback of West Point’s 1944 undefeated national championship team and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers, has died. He was 88.
Kenna died Jan. 28 in North Palm Beach, Fla., where he had lived for years, according to Nicholas Hollis, a longtime friend who worked with him at the National Association of Manufacturers in the 1970s. Howard-Price Funeral Home in North Palm Beach confirmed his death.
Funeral services were held Monday, Feb. 4 at Lakewood Memorial Park in Jackson, Miss. A memorial service is scheduled at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Hollis said Kenna had the same precision in business that made him a championship quarterback, calling him “a real American giant.”
“You’d have to see him walk into a room. Leadership is hard to define, but he was leadership personified,” Hollis said.
Kenna was from Jackson and went to the University of Mississippi before being recruited to West Point. He was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. He also served as a vice chairman for the National Football Foundation.
Kenna was the captain of the tennis and basketball teams the same the year he lead Army to the
football championship, according to the football foundation. West Point’s basketball team lost only one game that year and the tennis team was undefeated.
Kenna also was class president at West Point his senior year, according to his obituary.
As World War II ended, Kenna was recruited by Gen. George Patton to coach Army football teams in occupied Germany, Hollis said. He also was an assistant coach under Earl Blaik at West Point before going on to a successful business career.
Hollis said Kenna later held executive positions for several major companies, including Avco Corporation, Mississippi Power and Light, Fuqua Industries, Robert B. Anderson Ltd., G.L. Ohrstrom & Co. and Carrier Corporation. He also served on numerous boards.
As head of the National Association of Manufacturers in the 1970s, Kenna led “pioneering trade and industrial missions,” including in the former Soviet Union, Western Europe and the Middle East, Hollis said.