As the first woman to win a seat on Greenwood County Council, Belle Kennette paved the way for future women to serve.
Kennette died last Saturday at age 86.
“You couldn’t help but love Belle Kennette,” Greenwood County Council Chairman Steve Brown said during council’s meeting Tuesday.
Brown had the opportunity to work with Kennette in three different capacities in his life: as an employee of the Upper Savannah Council of Governments, as Greenwood city manager and when she worked in the county elections office.
“She was a person that just made things happen,” Brown said.
Councilman Robbie Templeton served on council with Kennette.
“That woman absolutely loved this community,” Templeton said. “She took great pride in her service to this community.”
Councilman Theo Lane said Kennette resided in his district.
“It was not uncommon for her to call me to confer with me or question me about things that were going on with the County Council,” Lane said.
Councilwoman Edith Childs remembered Kennette for being soft spoken.
“She was just very kind,” Childs said. “
Vice Chairman Chuck Moates encountered Kennette when he worked for Greenwood First Presbyterian Church.
“She counseled me on how to be a good councilman and a good Presbyterian,” Moates said.
Before serving 16 years on Greenwood County Council, Kennette served on the Ware Shoals Town Council for two years.
“She was the Belle of Ware Shoals,” Moates said.
Kennette was also remembered for other civic work she accomplished.
“From serving as a substitute in high school to working with constituents, she was always a wonderful listener and stepped up to bring a positive impact with everyone she met,” Kelly McWhorter, executive director of Discover Greenwood, said in an email. “Her leadership and involvement with Greenwood County helped move many initiatives forward to improve our community.”
Kennette was a “true Southern belle,” McWhorter wrote, exhibiting grace and kindness to everyone.
“I had the good fortune to work with Belle for several years,” Connie Moody, director of voter registration and elections for Greenwood County, said in an email.
Moody said she had a wonderful friendship with Kennette, who served as assistant director of voter registration and elections. Moody said Kennette was a “consummate professional.”
“When I think of Belle, two words come to mind: poise and grace,” Moody wrote.
She said Kennette had a wonderful personality and laughed often — when Kennette found something funny, she would laugh so hard her eyes would tear up.
“The world was a better place with Belle in it and she will be dearly missed,” Moody said.
Kennette would go on to work as director of passport processing for eight years.
Greenwood City Manager Julie Wilkie worked with Kennette during Wilkie’s internship with Greenwood County.
“Belle and I had an instant connection during my time at the County,” Wilkie said in an email. “She took me under her wing, and I was so grateful to have her friendship.”
Wilkie said she would have lunch with Kennette often where the latter would share her life stories and wisdom.
“I recall her telling me about her husband passing at such a young age, and I admired her strength to remain single and raise her children on her own,” Wilkie wrote.
Kennette retired in 2011.
“We are going to miss her,” Brown said.