Photo of C.B. Kern THE CARL B. KERN FUND
of The Dayton Foundation

established 1987

1401 S. Main Street, Suite 100  *  Dayton, OH 45409
(937) 222-0410  * * *  FAX: (937) 222-0636

Dayton Foundation Logo

Tribute Booklet to Carl B. Kern

It is quite impossible in a small space -- or even a large one -- to do justice to a great character. The elements that constitute virile manhood are not to be garnered and bound as grain. The life of Carl B. Kern will never be adequately written, yet it is very real. It was 'caught' by the boys whom he touched and goes on reinfecting those whom they touch. The power of his example, the results of his efforts are as the bit if yeast that is saved after each baking to leaven all the succeeding loaves.

However, it was thought fitting to publish a few dates and facts and especially some pictures so that his friends would have some material keep-sake of him.

Carl Benton Kern was born near Germantown, Ohio. February 20, 1880. His parents were plain, substantial folk -- the kind that form the backbone of Americanism. The usual course of life of the American Boy was his until he graduated from Germantown High School.

The prod of ambition and service drove him away from the quiet haunts of the village to the City if Dayton. Here he served some time as a machinist's apprentice. Seeking a larger opportunity he went to Cleveland. There he met M.D. Crackle, Boy's Work Secretary of the West Side Young Men's Christian Association. Though "C.B." had not thought of the Y.M.C.A. Secretaryship as his life work he was urged to accept a minor position by Mr. Crackle who seemed to see beneath the surface into his great heart.

In September 1904 he entered the International Y.M.C.A. School at Springfield, Mass. While there he made the football team and often later was urged to tell of his gridiron battles against the great Eastern Universities. After graduation in 1907 he accepted the Boys Work Secretaryship of the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Y.M.C.A. While there in August 1908 Miss Elizabeth Ayers of Cleveland became his wife.

The call to a larger field and his greatest life effort soon came and he assumed the Boys Secretaryship of the Dayton, Ohio Y.M.C.A. Sept. 26, 1909. How well he succeeded in this field is very evident to those who came under his influence and who can see the lives of 'his boys' so enlarged in spirit, mind and body. His happiest accomplishment was the development of Camp Ozone which was recently renamed Kamp Kern.

The accident which took him from us on June 3, 1917 seemed to our finite minds so contrary to the Divine plan. But who knows but that this shock was the blow that permanently stamped his character upon the Youth of Dayton. The great gloom that shrouded the city following his death was but the expression of gratitude for a life of service, a work well done.