Charlene Kennedy of Lake Victor breathed her last breath on earth on April 11, 2014 at the age of 87.
Charlene was the youngest of seven children born to Jim Davis, a sharecropper, and his wife Rosie Bell. She was born in Millersview, Texas, on July 27, 1926.
In the depth of the Great Depression, all of her older siblings grew up and moved away; and she remained with her parents as they moved from town to town in search of work. When Charlene was 11 years old, her mother died of pneumonia (before the era of antibiotics); and Charlene found herself cooking and doing housework for her recently widowed father. Eventually her father found work at the Frito plant in San Antonio and held the distinction of being the company's first potato chip cook.
When World War II came along and her father had remarried, she moved in with her older sister and her family and at age 15 was working at a Walgreens drugstore in San Antonio when a handsome young soldier strolled in and bought a milk shake from her. At age 16 she married the handsome soldier, Robert N. Kennedy, and began an adventurous life that spanned almost five decades, moving from one Army base to another, including three years in England, and eventually settling in Central Texas on a ranch near Lometa.
Through two wars, World War II and Korea, Charlene and Robert remained married until his death separated them in 1992, several months shy of their 50th wedding anniversary. Soon afterwards, the five sons built her a house in the country near the community of Lake Victor, Texas, where she lived until a few weeks before the terminal illness that took her life.
Charlene accepted Christ as her personal Savior when she was very young and remained a devoted student of Scripture throughout her life. Even though neither she nor Robert had graduated from high school, the two of them together instilled into their five boys the work ethic and the drive to succeed. All five sons grew into fine young men and educated themselves through college and into professions and careers.
Charlene was also preceded in death by her parents, all six of her siblings, and one granddaughter, Jessica Kennedy of Abilene, Texas.
She is survived by her five sons and their families: Dr. Bobby Joe Kennedy and wife Linda K. Walker-Kennedy, Austin, Texas; John W. Kennedy, Abilene, Texas; Jeff Kennedy and wife Melinda, Bald Prairie, Texas; Wayne Kennedy, Houston, Texas; and Kirk Kennedy and wife, Vicky. Lake Victor, Texas.
Eleven grandchildren: Barrett Kennedy, Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Kari Matthews and husband Paul, Austin, Texas; Marshall Kennedy and wife Mary, Topeka, Kansas; Priscilla Kennedy, Chicago, Illinois; William Kennedy, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Nathan Kennedy and wife Laura, Austin, Texas; John Zachary Kennedy and wife, Rebecca, Abilene, Texas: Megan Cox and husband Justin, Haskell, Texas; Kacey Stewart and husband Tobey, Franklin, Texas; Vincent Kennedy, LaMarque,Texas; and James Kennedy, Damon, Texas.
Nine great-grandchildren: Kelly and Emily Kennedy, Topeka, Kansas; Preston and Nolan Matthews, Austin Texas; Benjamin Kennedy, Cleburne, Texas: Timothy Able Kennedy, Abilene, Texas: Kenley and Ryan Cox, Haskell, Texas; and Madison Stewart, Franklin, Texas.
Surviving nieces and nephews: Nelson and Evelyn McMurrey, San Antonio, Texas; Darlene Christian, Marion, Texas; Janice and George Kolterman, Schertz, Texas; Brenda and Jerry Rinehart, San Antonio, Texas; Shirley Davis, Brackettville, Texas; J. C. and Sandra Davis, Brackettville, Texas; Marvin and Theresa Davis, Brackettville, Texas; Patsy Graham, Brackettville, Texas; Janelle and Clem Kiolbassa, Lake Corpus Christi, Texas; Ronnie and Sherry Hall, Brackettville, Texas; and Steve and Donna Magill, Eden, Texas; and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Funeral services will be at 1100 am on Tuesday, April 15th at the Lake Victor Church of Christ with interment following at 200 pm at Bagdad Cemetery, Leander, Texas.
Visitation will be at Beck Funeral Home, 1700 East FM 1431(E. Whitestone Blvd), Cedar Park, TX at 500 pm-700 pm on Monday, April 14th.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Apr. 13 to Apr. 14, 2014