Mary Kenner, born in 1912 in North Carolina, moved to Washington, D.C. in 1924. After she graduated from Dunbar High School, she attended Howard University.
Her first patented invention was the sanitary belt in 1957. In 1976 she patented an attachment for a walker or wheelchair that included a tray and pocket for storage. Kenner also worked as a professional floral arranger and owned four flower shops in the Washington, DC, area.