Ettie Jean Whitfield was born in Kingston, Jamaica, the third of four children to C.B. and Ettie May Phillips.
After completing high school, she relocated to Newton, Kansas to attend Bethel College, graduating from Bethel Deaconess Hospital School of Nursing, class of 1960.
Her working career started in Kansas City, Missouri before she moved to St. Louis, Missouri to take a position with the nursing staff of Barnes Hospital.
Ettie has been married to Kennard for forty nine years. She has two children, Stacy and Lorna, and six grandchildren.
After retiring from school nursing in Webster Groves, Missouri, she and her husband relocated to Romeoville, IL where she still resides.