Theresa Kenny CHICAGO
Theresa Kenny Ellis became the Rose of Tralee in 1960, representing Chicago
After being crowned the Rose of Tralee, I was offered job opportunities with Pan American Airlines and the Irish Consulate, but decided on furthering my education at Fox College in Chicago and continued to support Irish events in the Chicagoland area.
I was married in 1963 to Robert Ellis and became a mother of two sons, Brian and Brendan.
I’m currently enjoying retirement, spending winters in southern Florida (at Pompano Beach) and summers in northwest Indiana (just outside Chicago), combined with trips home to Ballyheigue.
Becoming the International Rose of Tralee after becoming the Chicago Rose was definitely a highlight in my life which emphasized how important the support was that to me that I received from family, friends, neighbours and even those I didn’t know.
I was born in Ballyheigue and a lot of my family are still there. My sister Helen lives in Castlegregory and my sister Mary lives in London. I originally came to Chicago in the late 1950s from Ballyheigue due to economic necessity, following my brother Mike and sister Kathleen. My brother John Martin also came to Chicago, where all four of us siblings still reside. Part of the pride in winning the Rose of Tralee was not only representing Chicago but also, being a local girl, representing my home of Ballyheigue and Tralee itself.
My favourite memory of the Rose of Tralee was stepping out at the Ashe Memorial Hall and viewing the throngs of people then watching my 75-year-old grandfather climb the steps to congratulate me.