2019 Cardee Kilpatrick Chair for Middle School Teachers award winner Nick Hussain with Cardee.
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Excellence is saddened by the recent passing of a great friend and benefactor of the FFE, Carlene "Cardee" Kilpatrick. She was a dearly loved and greatly admired pillar of our community and will be much missed. Mrs. Kilpatrick was one of the original Foundation organizing members in 1983 and served as executive director from 1984-1989.
The Kilpatricks endowed the Cardee Kilpatrick Chair for Middle School Teachers, and it was first awarded in 1995. In 2019 Cardee and her husband Jeremy designated memorial funds to the FFE for their son Judson. The family has again asked for gifts to go to us now. Her obituary can be accessed below from the Athens Banner Herald:
In initial email traffic among the FFE trustees at news of her death, some very inspiring thoughts were shared about Cardee. It seemed appropriate to include a portion of those here:
“Mrs. Kilpatrick was such a fine lady and did so much to inspire other women and girls to follow their spirit--not the direction they were told to follow. She moved lines outward rather than stopping at them. She did this with amazing grace and compassion, and as she pushed you, you never felt it. You just found yourself in a better spot. This also took patience on her part. I heard about this from a girl that I grew up with who was one of those inspired girls. I’m one of those inspired boys.” Alex Sams
“Cardee was such a treasure to our community! I met her in the 90’s when I just moved to town. She was on the county commission, and my husband Jeff had just been hired to work for the city. She made such a point of getting to know us, welcoming us to Athens, and sharing what was so special about this town. She leaves a legacy of impact in so many ways, and I'm honored to serve on the FEE, an organization she cared so deeply about!” Shannah Montgomery
“Cardee was such a great lady and a friend to all. My husband John got to know her well during the years that she was an A-CC commissioner, and he was finance director. She truly loved her community and always worked to make it a better place. Her kindness and generosity were extended to everyone she knew. I feel particularly honored to serve an organization that was so near and dear to her heart!” Wanda Culpepper