Kevin Michael Kennedy 1953-2013
Kevin Michael Kennedy, 59, of Austin, passed away January 24th. Lost to his friends and family are his razor-sharp wit and laughter, his enthusiasm for music and movies and racehorses, and his musical Irish bass voice. Kevin was born February 24, 1953, in Kansas City, Kansas, the son of Joseph C. and Shirley Marie Carriger Kennedy. He graduated from Tascosa High School in Amarillo and attended Amarillo College and St. Edward's University in Austin. He began his professional career as a broadcast journalist
for television stations in Amarillo and moved to Austin as a Capitol correspondent in 1979. He had the looks for it, the acumen for politics and government, and the voice that never seemed to strike a false note. Throughout the 1980s he was a partner in the Texas Independent News Service and a political consultant press spokesperson for several statewide campaigns. He worked as director of public information for the Texas General Services Commission and director of media relations for San Antonio's Saddles & Spurs Campaign; he handled press relations for the Keep San Antonio Moving Light Rail Campaign and later worked as media consultant for Aldrete Communications. In 2007, he took a job at the Texas Association of Counties, where he was membership information supervisor. Kevin and his partner, Elna Christopher, were fixtures in the colorful social scene of the Another Raw Deal restaurant and tavern in the 1980s, and afterward with their friends moved their frequent gathering spot to the Texas Chili Parlor. Each summer during the 1990s several of those friends traveled to Chicago, where they attended at least one Cubs game, but they roamed, shopped, and dined everywhere, Kevin always leading the way. At one deli he learned about local ethnic condiments for hot dogs. Though he ate like a bird he was a good cook, always making too many dishes at Thanksgiving. His grilled kosher hot dogs were exceptional, and the feasts were an annual tradition at their home on the Fourth of July. Kevin was a stylish dresser. He spoiled their kitty, Humphrey, with treats whether he needed them or not. He enjoyed all kinds of music and kept up with the newest artists. He loved the Rolling Stones, but Frank Sinatra was his absolute favorite. Kevin loved to play the ponies, and he won a longshot bet now and then. In recent years he and Elna alternated choosing destinations for their vacations. Kevin always chose one with a major race track. On a recent trip he took Elna on a swing through the towns of lovely upper New York state, with a day watching and cheering the thoroughbreds at Saratoga Springs. A couple of years before this, an old friend had told Kevin that his son admired Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the New York vacation they toured FDR's home at Hyde Park, and when they returned to Austin, Kevin gave his friend's son an FDR campaign button from the 1944 campaign. The youth asked his father, "How did he know I liked FDR?" Kevin's friend replied, "That's the way he is about people - he remembers what's important to them." Kevin is survived by Elna; one sister, Teri Kennedy, one brother, Pat Kennedy, and his partner, Darlene Stowe, all of Amarillo; sister-in-law Barbara Kennedy of Cibolo; one nephew, Anthony, and two nieces, Andrea and Allison.. A celebration of Kevin's life is planned for February 24th, which would have been his 60th birthday, beginning at 3 p.m. at the Texas Chili Parlor in Austin. Memorial donations may be directed to the Capital Area Food Bank, 8201 S. Congress, 78745, or the Austin Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane, 78752.