Mary Kathleen Mohler Kenda who is also popular as Kathy Kenda tapped into the fame that comes with being the wife of a former American detective and documentary TV star, Joe Kenda for 55 years. As a result of her husband’s deeds, especially as a detective notable for solving 356 homicides out of the 387 he solved in his career, Kathy found a space to appear in a number of documentaries that include Homicide Hunter where she took part in 5 episodes alongside her husband.
Joe Kenda owes his fame to his job with the American law enforcement scene. There, he served as a detective and later lieutenant. His service from 1973 to 1996 ended in solving homicides in a closure rate of 92%. He further led himself to become a TV personality in highly rated TV series and documentaries that include American Detective with Joe Kenda. His success in his job surprisingly matches that of his marriage to Kathy Kenda.
Mary Kathleen Mohler Kenda Started Her Love Story with Joe Kenda in High School
Mary Kathy and her husband Kenda attended the same high school – Greensburg Central Catholic School. Although it remains unknown the year that she graduated, Joe Kenda graduated in 1964.
The couple was said to have also attended the same college, the University of Pittsburgh where Mary studied nursing with a specialization degree in psychiatry. Joe Kenda on the other hand earned a Bachelor in Arts degree in political science before obtaining a master’s degree in International relations from Ohio State University.
3 years after they completed their high school education and 3 years before Joe graduated from Ohio State University, the couple headed for marriage on December 26, 1967.
Their Marriage Produced 2 Children Who Served at US Navy and Airforce
The marriage between the couple was blessed with a son Dan and a daughter, Kris. Like Joe, both his children joined the American law enforcement agency. While Dan retired in the United States Navy as a commander, Kris retired as a United States Air Force major.
As children, their mother Mary Kathleen Mohler Kenda had to raise them partly alone as Joe was consumed with his work and the drive to unleash the masks of murderers. As a father, Joe was paranoid and would let his then 15 years old daughter Kris have a boyfriend at the age of 16. He would, however, accompany her to dates until she became 28.
The retired detective’s job also haunted him, especially after visiting a crime scene where 2 adults and a 5-year-old wore similar Pajamas that his then 19-year-old had when he was younger. Joe couldn’t help but think that the little boy could be his son.
She Supported Her Husband’s Career but Pushed Him to Retire After 23 Years
It was 6 years after they became married that Joe started his career as a police officer in 1973. Being part of the life of a man who was responsible for cracking homicide cases came with its own fears for Mary Kathleen Mohler Kenda, but she lived with it.
After he became a lieutenant, Mary had hoped that Joe would let the younger officers arrest suspects, but he wouldn’t. On a faithful day at about 6 am in the morning, he informed Mary about his going out to make an arrest. He never called and did not show up until 1 0’clock in the morning after she waited and feared for his life. She got furious and gave him 3 options – retire, let the younger officers make arrests, and come home every night. Well, Joe chose the former and retired from being a police officer in 1996.
Where are Mary Kathleen Mohler Kenda and Joe Kenda Now?
The current 55 years old Joe went through a withdrawal stage for 2 years when he retired from his job. In 1998, he took a job as a special needs school bus operator where he worked for about a decade.
In 2009, a Denver television series editor, Patrick Bryant, wanted to independently create his own series as a producer. After nursing the idea of having Kenda in a TV series as a homicide detective, he reached out to the former detective 2 times but he shoved it. The 3rd time, his wife saw him reading the letter and insisted that he took the offer.
Joe gave it more thought and agreed to go on with Bryant’s idea which birthed Homicide Hunter: Lt Joe Kenda. It began airing in 2011 and ended in 2020. The documentary ended up becoming one of the most-watched in America with positive reviews. The series also had 9 episodes and Mary appeared in 9 of them.
Currently, Joe Kenda is featuring in ID discovery’s American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda. The series came on air on January 4, 2021.