KENNEDY, Richard (Dick) Croft Had the courage to choose his life, and his death, in the place he loved the most: on Damariscotta Lake in Nobleboro, Maine after a week surrounded by three generations of family and dogs. |
Born March 23, 1931 in Philadelphia, PA to Harriet Walker Kennedy and Donald D. Kennedy, he now joins his identical twin brother Don. Married to Anne Sibley Kennedy for 59 years, together they made a mark on thousands of lives as educators and mentors, offering as much inspiration in their work as they have in comic relief.
An elementary graduate of Fessenden School, Dick also attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Pomfret School, and Trinity College where he reported to have sometimes been a better athlete than scholar. Serving in the U.S. Army in Trieste (1951-1953) he counts this as his "best life-long lessons learned." Holding degrees from Columbia (graduate A.B. 1956) and Stanford M.A. 1973), Dick taught at the Applewild School in Fitchburg, MA and was the founding Asst. Headmaster at Pingree School in So. Hamilton, MA.
As an educational entrepreneur and the Director of Kieve in Nobleboro, ME (1959-1990), he gave the family's camp in the mid 70's to found the non-profit Kieve Affective Education, Inc, now Kieve-Wavus Education, Inc. Thousands of life-long learners continue to benefit from the initiatives he helped to create such as The Leadership School, 9/11 Family Camp, Veterans Camp, and The Kennedy Learning Center, helping Mainers and beyond craft their lives to make a better world.
Other well-placed efforts included years of service to the New England Forestry Foundation, Maine State board of Education, Riley School, Lincoln Academy, The Artisan School, and St Timothy's. After writing a book called Choosing the Right Camp, several articles followed in Family Life Magazine and various other newspapers, magazines, and even the Today Show. In 2003, Dick was a recipient of a Jefferson Award for his work with youth. His life was lived with service and humor, wanting to give back to the state where he was raised in privilege as an accident of his birth, believing that by sharing his good fortune, indeed all boats would rise.
His greatest Challenge: A nagging fear of failure that goaded him to hard work and educational entrepreneurship. In his words, "After I am gone, I hope some will say - ?We never knew why education was his passion. Come to find out he lived with a crippling fear of failure throughout his school years. Because others helped him, he was able to overcome that fear. He wanted nothing more than to be a link in that chain of helpers so that fear of failure would take fewer hostages."
His greatest Accolade: A visiting four year old who turned to his parents on the way home and said "Those are nice people, and Dick has very nice taste in people."
Friends were enormously important to him. He learned from people from all over the world and from all walks of life, and got most of his pleasure from his friends. Perhaps his greatest friend was his identical twin Don, competitive in all things, including their love for each other.
But despite what the rest of the world may have seen, the family was the center of his life and love. In his words, "Nancy was a generous loving mate who never let a moment go by without praise and love. Nanne, Ben, and Amos were constantly on his mind and in his heart, as were Henry, B.J., Sam and Blair. One of his few disappointments was that he never saw enough of his family all together."
Dick has been joyously remembered in thousands of emails this week, and for this his family, and future family, are eternally grateful. A service will be held lakeside at Camp Kieve to be announced later this summer, with a small private internment by the pond where he and Nancy have loved watching the seasons pass, and the dogs romp in the mud.
A gardener of the heart, Dick planted many seeds. Now go out, nurture your soil, and have the courage to make them grow!
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to the Kennedy Family Endowment Fund at Kieve-Wavus Education, PO Box 169, Nobleboro, ME 04555.
Hall's of Waldoboro has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences, light a candle in Dick's memory, or to share a story or picture, please visit his Book of Memories at www.hallfuneralhomes.com
Published in The Boston Globe on July 3, 2016