Garth's Treehouse

The founding president of the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation was an architectural engineer who built this celebrated treehouse home for his family in 1956.

Garth P. Kennedy

Today, we honor the vision and legacy of Garth P. Kennedy, the first president of the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation, who helped establish the organization in 1975. He, along with three other engineers, Roy J. Thompson, Lial Eddy and Ira T. Oliver, all signed OEF’s Articles of Incorporation in 1976. That was nearly 50 years ago, and today, their legacies live on today in OEF’s flagship programs: The Oklahoma Engineering Scholarship; the Oklahoma Engineering Fair and MATHCOUNTS Oklahoma.  


2018 Obituary

Reprinted with Permission, Dignity Memorial

Garth Park Kennedy passed away on April 29, 2018. He was born to Isabelle Duncan and Glen Parks Kennedy in Greeley, Colorado on November 21, 1918. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Dorothy Cornelia Kennedy, and his treasured son, Neal (“Nick”) Robert Kennedy. He is survived by his daughter, Lani Kennedy, and her husband, Lewis Kwit, of New York City as well as Nick’s life-long partner Melanie Rutherford, Garth’s devoted caregiver and friend Mary Frazier, and nieces and nephews.

Garth grew up in Hastings, Nebraska, where he attended Hastings College before graduating from the University of Nebraska with a degree in architectural engineering. He moved to Oklahoma in 1942 with his new wife where he worked first with Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville and then assisted in the founding of Corken Pump Company in Oklahoma City.

He retired in 1983 as Vice Chairman of Corken International Corporation and as president of Enterprise Foundry and Southwest Manufacturing Company. He held numerous U.S. and Canadian patents on equipment to handle volatile liquids and gases.

During his 60-year career, he served as Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) president, National Society of Engineers national director and Oklahoma Engineering Foundation president, and in 2003 was named an OSPE Fellow, among other positions and honors. He served his community as Cosmopolitan International Downtown Club president, Civic Music Association president, Kirkpatrick Science Center board member and held numerous positions at the First Christian Church of Midwest City. He was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church at the time of his passing. Pastor Glenn Dunn will preside at the funeral service in the chapel at Westminster on Friday, May 4, 2018, with burial to follow in Arlington Memory Gardens, Midwest City, OK. Memorial contributions may be made to Westminster or the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation, 220 NE 28th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105.

Oklahoma’s Kennedy House

Oklahoma City’s celebrated Kennedy House, also known as the Treehouse in Forest Park, was designed by OEF Founding President Garth Kennedy in 1956. Mr. Kennedy lived in the home with his wife and raised his two children there. His late son, Neal Kennedy, followed in his father’s footsteps becoming a mechanical engineer. Later, he earned his Juris Doctorate and was a partner in an Oklahoma City law firm. 

Garth Kennedy, who lived to be 99, remained in his beloved treehouse home until he relocated to an assisted living center in 2016. Considered one of Oklahoma’s most beloved mid-century modern homes, the house and its entire contents were sold in 2016.

According to the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture, the buyer who purchased the property completed a “thoughtful and sensitive restoration of the house and outdoor spaces.” Before it was sold, real estate agent Monte Milburn generously allowed the late historic preservation advocate Lynne Rostochil to photograph the home and its pristine contents. Visit to see some wonderful pictures of the interior and exterior of the home.      

Kennedy’s Architectural Renderings, Drawings

Among the items real estate agent Monte Milburn allowed Lynne Rotochil to photograph were some architectural renderings and/or drawings by Garth Kennedy. Click here to see them. None of these projects, including a Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home for the shore of Grand Lake, were never built. According to, Kennedy was an avid fan of Wright and there were many books about him and his work still in his library when the house and all its contents were sold. 

Garth Kennedy’s Legacy

Corken International

Garth Kennedy was hired by Charlie Corken, Corken International, in 1945. At the time, Mr. Kennedy worked for Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Mr. Kennedy went on to “design and manufacture a full line of Corken pump and compressor technologies, which ultimately lead to the development of many of the products Corken still manufactures today.”

Corken, which is now in its 98th year, still pays tribute to the engineering contributions made by Mr. Kennedy. His picture appears on the home page slider and the about page.


Garth Kennedy served as president of the Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and was the founding president of the Oklahoma Engineering Foundation (OEF). His contributions to OEF and his leadership continue to inspire Oklahoma’s engineering community and the OEF trustees who serve as stewards of his vision and sacrifice. In addition, Mr. Kennedy’s wife, Dorothy, was an active member of the Oklahoma Engineering Wives Auxiliary. In the 1980s, the late political cartoonist, Jim Lange, paid tribute to the wives in a cartoon he drew that still hangs in the OEF office today. 

OEF Engineering Scholarship

Garth Kennedy was one of 12 Oklahoma engineers who established the Oklahoma College Engineering Scholarship. Today, it is a permanent endowment that offers a simple and enduring way to help college students further their education in engineering. Anyone may donate to the scholarship fund via the Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Forest Park

Garth Kennedy’s treehouse home is located in the Town of Forest Park, Oklahoma, a small municipality between NE 23rd and 50th streets and between I-35 and Bartell Road. 

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