Photo of Jim Kennison

Jim KennisonJim Kennison

Photo of Jim Kennison
School: Roosevelt Graduation Year: 1974

Year Inducted: 2017

Sports Played: Football, Basketball, Track and Field

High School Honors: 3-year Football letterman. 1st Team All-PIL wide receiver and cornerback as a Junior and Senior.
2-year Basketball letterman.
1-year Track & Field letterman. Selected as the PIL’s offensive representative for Scholar-Athlete for the National Football Foundation in 1973. Multnomah Athletic Club Scholar Athlete as a Sophomore; Hal York MVP Award as a Junior. Student Body President.

Post High School Career: In the baking industry: 20 years with Wonderbread Bakery in Portland; 19 years with Franz Bakery in Portland, where he is currently General Manager. Serves on 3 boards: Roosevelt Alumni Association, Central Eastside Industrial Council, and New Hope Four Square Church. Coached Little League and Babe Ruth Baseball; one of his Babe Ruth Teams finished 4th in the Babe Ruth World Series.


The earliest athletic inspiration in my life came from Ken Thompson, a Director of The Columbia Boy’s Club, reputed to be an ex-Minnesota Viking. I was10 at the time and one of the youngest players in the league. We practiced on an old dirt field without goal posts. Before practice he lined us up single file spread arm’s length apart to look for glass, rocks, or anything that may puncture our skin while practicing. He made us run around the field, it seemed for hours, before we started hitting drills. The field was so dry and hard our plastic football cleats wouldn’t make a dent in it. We absolutely hated it but not one of us was going to disappoint “The Man”.

Ken pushed us like I had never been pushed before and we ended up taking the championship of the league two out of the four years that I played football before high school. We were able to honor Ken at a reunion that was held in his honor around 2012. Though he was close to 90 years old, he was still that iron jawed man we all did not want to disappoint. Every man in that room knew that Ken Thompson loved him and had been an inspiration in our lives.

The most inspirational coach that I had in high school was Herb Harms. He was an Assistant Coach when I was a sophomore. In the early 70’s not many, if any, underclassmen, made varsity. Our head coach at the time was Joe Gillis. Joe actually came up to me one day to let me know that I would more than likely be playing junior varsity. Sophomores didn’t get to play varsity in 1971. It just gave me more incentive to work harder. With Coach Harms pushing me from behind and his many coaching sessions, Coach Gillis couldn’t deny me a spot on varsity. Matter of fact, I was a starter at outside linebacker on opening day. Coach Harms became the varsity coach the next year as Joe Gillis had retired. Coach Harms was always there for us. After many years, we have lost touch with each other, but I will never forget him.

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