John Thomas Kinney
1951 - 2021
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John Thomas Kinney
November 12, 1951 - March 11, 2021
John Thomas Kinney, devoted son, husband, father, friend, musician, and teacher, passed away peacefully in his sleep Thursday, March 11, 2021. John was a lifelong San Franciscan, and son of Thomas and Phyllis Kinney. He was born November 12, 1951 in San Francisco. He attended public schools, James Lick Middle School and Lowell High School, and remained close to many of his high school friends. John earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Indiana University, pursuing studies in Trombone, and a Master of Arts from the Juilliard School. He was a Life Member of the American Federation of Musicians' Local 6, and played in many local music groups including San Francisco's Golden Gate Park Band, Horns-a-Plenty Brass Band, and regional symphony orchestras. Recently, he enjoyed playing with and organizing various musical groups in The Family Club. John worked in a trucking firm in which he was owner and partner until his mother became unable to care for herself. He spent many years caring for his mother who had contracted polio as a child. He also cared for his aunt Marion Brown in her final years.
John met, fell in love with, and married Maria Luisa Mondragon in 1989. They traveled many times to visit her parents in Michoacán, Mexico. John and Luisa maintained a house in Mexico City as well. Their son John Mondragon Kinney lives in San Jose and is the owner and manager of Kinney Windows San Jose.
John was a patient and insightful person, who rarely got angry. He loved to read both fiction and nonfiction. John would complete several books a month. He was incredibly smart but also incredibly humble. He had an open mind and was always willing to look at a problem from all angles. John will be remembered as a true gentleman, kind and caring, reserved yet loving a good joke, and a true and loyal friend.
A memorial for John is being planned for some time in June. You may leave notes of condolence on In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to John's favorite charities, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (, or the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 2 to Apr. 5, 2021.
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2 entries
April 7, 2021
I had the pleasure of knowing and working with John over many decades. When I first started my professional career as a trumpet player in the Bay Area John was one of the first orchestra contractors to give me a chance. Later, we performed together for many years in the Golden Gate Park Band. John was always a true professional, ready to play whatever was needed. He was cheerful and easy to work with. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. Please accept my condolences.
Mark Nemoyten
April 3, 2021
John and I joined the Family Club the same year and were members of the same "class" in the club, like a fraternity. I have spent many hours in conversation with John and always appreciated both the depth of his thoughtfulness and his dry wit. I also performed music with John on many, many occasions as we both have backgrounds as professional musicians. His high level of artistry, attention to musical details, and devotion to his musical craft were things I always admired in John. He was both a great guy and a great man, and he will be missed. I'm privileged to have known him.
David Motto
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