He was born Jan. 18, 1927, to John F. Kennedy and Clara Ellen (Nellie) Crager Kennedy at their rural farm house near St. Paul. He was one of six children born to John and Nellie. He was raised on their farm and attended Odell Country School until the age of 17, when he left for Kansas City to join the Navy.
It was while he was stationed at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, Calif., when he met his wife of 63 years, Genevieve (Jenny) Ferreira. After a five-month courtship, they married on Feb 15, 1947, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
John spent 11 years in the Navy, giving up his naval career to be a husband and father. He worked for many years for P & H Motors in Oakland, Calif., and then went on to become self-employed by purchasing Excelsweld Co. in Oakland, developing a rare technology to re-manufacture and weld cracks in motor heads. Later he purchased Union City Storage, which is still owned by the family today.
John was an avid sports fan and loved the local teams, the Oakland (as they will always be) Raiders and the A’s. He was an avid golfer before his health began to decline. One of his great joys was draft horses, and even until last year he made the annual trip to St. Paul for the Mission Day celebration to watch the horses work and meet up with his family and friends from childhood.
John valued family more than anything else in his life. He always enjoyed spending time and sharing a meal with those he loved. Everyone, and even the stranger, was welcome in John’s home and to sit at his table, a trait he never forgot from the days of his mother on a small rural farm in Southeast Kansas.
Along with his wife, John is survived by two sons, John Jr. and his wife, Anita, of Modesto, Calif., and Chuck and his wife, Carol, of Hayward, Calif.; four loving grandchildren, Jason and Amy Kennedy, Justin and Deverie Kennedy, Shelby and Rick Peffer, and Heather and Jeremy Bishop; nine great-grandchildren; three sisters, Eileen Hight of Littleton, Colo., Agnes Riggins of North Glenn, Colo., and Gertrude Gallo of St. Paul; a brother, Howard Kennedy of St. Paul; and many nieces and nephews.
He was proceeded in death by his parents and a brother, Francis Eugene, of Joplin in 2007.
A vigil Mass celebrated his life on March 18 at All Saints Catholic Church in Hayward. A funeral mass followed on March 19 at All Saints Catholic Church as well. Burial was at Chapel of the Chimes in Hayward.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested in John’s name to the VFW Post No. 7906, Paul E. Rivers, Washington Township Veterans Memorial Bld., 87154 Second St., Fremont, CA 94536.