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April 06, 2020

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April 06, 2020

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 Memories & Condolences
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March 31, 2020
John Leroy Kennedy was my big brother. As a kid, I would brag about his being at West Point. He was 15 years older than I and entered the Army when I was three years old. Not growing up together, we didn't develop the bonds (or animosities) that brothers closer in age often do. Although our career paths were different and the places where we lived far apart, we kept in touch. He chose a military career and served his country well. His deployments in Korea and Viet Nam would have taken much stamina and courage, which I am sure helped him face the many challenges in his life, particularly those concerning his own health and that of his wife Margaret and three children, all of whom he loved deeply. He understood military discipline and did what he thought was best, but he was also gentle and kind. He was a good host and conversationalist whenever I visited him at his home in Vienna, VA, where we stayed up late talking and reminiscing. I learned a lot from him about our family before I was born, and despite the age difference, we seem to have inherited some of the same traits and interests, including a sense of humor, inherited from our father, a love for animals, and an interest in old movies, history, and popular music of the 20s and 30s. Concerning the latter, years ago he sent me a great many audio tapes he had created from his collection of CDs. His music is still with me: I digitized them, put them onto my iPhone, and still listen to them when I exercise. We became closer at a distance in his final years: My wife Pat and I renewed contact with him and his family when his grandson John became a student at the university in Chapel Hill where I had taught for 45 years. It was a great reunion. He was a good brother and a decent man, who, throughout his life, to paraphrase 1 Timothy 6:12, fought the good fight.

Don Kennedy, Chapel Hill, NC
March 25, 2020
John was an amazing man and national treasure. I was honored to be his neighbor.
March 25, 2020
John L. Kennedy, Jr. was my Dad. Perhaps others could also say there are very few, rare people one could testify have had a profound impact in our lives, even on a daily basis. Mom and Dad were such people, in my life.

They were both Christian people of honor, of truth, of a seldom seen high intellectual capacity, the depths of which were masked in their ways of unpretentious normalcy and humility that didn't seek attention, humility by which they lived their lives. Yet to know these unpretentious people was, beyond being schooled in Christianity, to learn of artistic heights in music, heights in literature, knowledge of history and sciences, practical ways of being competent and efficient in life's daily routines, and I could go on beyond these things more than you would wish to hear, so let's suffice it to say last, but not least, Mom and Dad also had a profound love for their children that was not simply some emotive display, rather deeply rooted in the child's well being, whatever this meant, as best their ability to know, in joys, as well as sorrows.

The passing of Mom left quite a vacuum in this world, and, now, with Dad also gone on to be with our Lord Jesus, that vacuum is all too palpable, the hard reality neither of them are any longer here. Surely, it's not with sorrow, as if Mom and Dad are not, in fact, alive, as if they without hope, as if they are not, absolutely, in a better place, to be with the Lord, but I'm still heartbroken, this world a lot emptier, who I am a constant reminder of who they were, in this life. That anybody can have such an impact is my testimony of what great and fine people John L. Kennedy, Jr. and Margaret C. Kennedy were, and this not for being unique, as we all are, as humans, but for being people like few others I've ever known, in what are the most important and estimable ways, eternal ways, and for they being simply irreplaceable.

God speed, Mom and Dad. Love you! Tom

Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:5-8

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
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