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League of Women Voters presents Ordway Award to Tressa Kentner

At its opening fall meeting recently, the League of Women Voters of the Mt. Baldy Area presented its Ruth Ordway Award to Tressa Kentner, the local league’s recent past-president.

Ruth Ordway was a founding member of the local league in 1938 and was twice president and a tireless community activist. 

Ms. Kentner was born in San Francisco, but lived in many parts of the country as the child of an army family. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz and then from Cal State Northridge with an MBA.

She began her career in the Ventura and Santa Clara counties district attorney’s office child support division and then in the family support division, where she worked to make those services more family friendly. She continued in this effort as she moved on to become head of the family support division in Sonoma County.

When she was promoted to executive officer of the superior and municipal courts in Sonoma County, she combined the two courts, making their more efficient system a model for courts all over the country.

Her final career challenge was as executive officer of the San Bernardino court system. Ms. Kentner has won several service and professional awards because of her service.  From 2002 to 2005, she served on the judicial council that sets state court policy for the state. Throughout her career she centered her efforts on serving the public in better ways.

After retiring, Ms. Kentner joined Kiwanis and soon became one of the two liaisons for the Claremont High School Key Club, mentoring officers and providing well-considered ideas. Duties included attending regular meetings as well as district-wide events.  Eventually she transitioned to chair of the grants committee, which distributes $25,000 to applicants from the community and youth organizations in Claremont. She organized the process and eventually got it all online, then convened the committee for the vote, and kept within the budget.

“Everyone on the committee appreciated her timely messages and recommendations, including spreadsheets with comparisons from previous years,” the League shared. “The committee was glad she chaired it twice: sure proof of a good leader.”

Ms. Kentner joined the local league in 2009 and, by 2013, she was vice president of administration. In 2015 she became president and she did not retire from that position until this past June. She presided over a large membership increase in 2017 and chaired “Voting is your Voice,” an outreach campaign to encourage voting which ran from the summer of 2018 until Election Day of last year.