James Walter Kennedy

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Evangelist James Walter Kennedy


Evangelist James Walter Kennedy, 88, of 104 Wellington Drive, Mauldin, died peacefully on Sunday, January 27, 2013. Born in Greenville County, he was the son of the late James Vernon Kennedy and Inez Hill Kennedy.

He served as the esteemed minister of the Nicholtown and I-85 Church of Christ in Greenville for 60 years. He was a pioneer in the Churches of Christ, helping to establish the Southeastern Regional Lectureship and serving as its Chairman for many years. He was a role model, mentor, and an inspiration for many young ministers. Through the years, he has received proclamations and special recognition by local and national officials. In 1969, as a young minister, he spent two months doing missionary work in Sierra Leone, Africa along with a companion minister. He said that the people of Sierra Leone were "profoundly impressed to see black people preaching the gospel and answering questions since at the time, most missionaries to Africa were white. He added, "We felt like diplomats because of the way people treated us." He noted that he was especially well treated because of his name "Kennedy" - a name revered there because of the late President John F. Kennedy. Additionally, Kennedy was himself impressed by what he saw in Africa - Africans flying planes, running banks and other businesses, etc. - all of which instilled in him tremendous racial pride.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 66 years, Almeta Robinson Kennedy; two daughters, Frankie Kennedy of Mauldin, and Deborah Kennedy Kennard of Brussels, Belgium and Washington, D.C., and son-in-law, U.S. Ambassador William E. Kennard of Brussels and Washington, D.C.; two grandchildren, Ameka J. Burton and Robert James Kennedy Kennard; three great-grandchildren, Brookelyn, Autumn and James Mekai; a special cousin, Brunson Roberts of Greenville; and a host of nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his brother, Vernoy Kennedy, who served as a Greenville County Magistrate and U.S. Deputy Marshall for South Carolina.

Funeral Service: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. at I-85 Church of Christ with burial in Resthaven Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends, Friday, 7-8 p.m. at Watkins, Garrett & Woods Mortuary.

Memorials may be made to the James W. Kennedy Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o The Community Foundation, 1201 15th Street, N.W. Suite 420; Washington, DC 20005. The fund has been established to assist promising students pursuing education at Christian colleges.

Published in The Greenville News on Feb. 1, 2013
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