Head: Die-hard Fan

October 4, 2005

Jere Kernodle is a die-hard Baylor fan -- literally. This 72-year-old mortician and funeral home owner from Wynne, Ark., graduated from Baylor in 1954 and has driven the 500 miles to Waco almost every year since for the annual Homecoming festivities.

Kernodle has "truly missed only a handful since his graduation," says his daughter, Janet Kernodle Marshall, BS '86.

"I'm happy to do it," says Kernodle, who brings his family to watch the parade in front of Penland Hall, meeting his former Baylor roommates there.

"Sometimes they can come, and sometimes they can't come, but we always stand in front of Penland so that they know where we are," he says. "We have a big reunion and a great time." The Kernodle family also attends the bonfire and often Pigskin Revue.

But Kernodle isn't just a Baylor football fan. He also watches and cheers on the basketball teams. So when the Lady Bears won the NCAA National Championship last year, he couldn't have been happier.

"Oh, I am just on Cloud Nine," he says, months later. "I live up here with all these Razorbacks, and they're just as much into their team as I am to Baylor."

Kernodle was so nervous during the Lady Bears' final game, though, he couldn't watch it, Marshall says. "He watched bits and pieces, getting phone call updates from my sister and me. He was just too nervous to watch!"

Kernodle's two sons graduated from the University of Arkansas, and his two daughters from Baylor; Marshall's sister is Karen Kernodle Martin, BA '82, MBA '83. Needless to say, watching college sports can be boisterous when they all get together. "But this was the first time I've ever had a lot of die-hard Razorbacks say that they were pulling for the Baylor Bears. And that made me feel good," he says.

The day after the big win was Rotary Club Day in Wynne, so Kernodle, a past president of his chapter, woke up early, decorated his yard and van and went to work proudly sporting his Baylor spirit, Marshall says. "I know he had a wonderful time being able to smile from ear-to-ear, bragging on his Baylor Bears in Razorback country," she says. "There haven't been many times in the last 50 years that he has been able to carry his head so high with a big BU win."

Kernodle, who is a member of the Development Council and an active Bear Hunter, says, "It's just good to see something wonderful happen to Baylor after some unpleasant situations we've had recently."