John J. Kennedy, the retired Greenwich Commissioner of Public Works for whom the town's fleet maintenance and highway depot is named, died March 18 at Greenwich Hospital following a sudden illness. He was 95 and lived in Old Greenwich.
He was born May 18, 1917 in Greenwich, the son of the late Michael and Mary Cosgrove Kennedy.
A lifelong Greenwich resident, he grew up in the heart of town on Grigg Street, off lower Greenwich Avenue. He attended St. Mary’s School on Greenwich Avenue and Greenwich High School. In 1940, Mr. Kennedy graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering.
During World War II, he was commissioned an officer in the United States Navy, and served in the Pacific, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. He was assigned to the post of Commander, Headquarters Company of the 62nd Naval Construction Battalion, responsible for the reconstruction of Pearl Harbor in the wake of the devastating air attack that directly preceded the entry of the United States into the war.
Following his military service, John returned home to Greenwich, and married Hope Constance Juhl in 194. They were married for 55 years until her death in 2000.
Mr. Kennedy began his working career as a land surveyor and civil engineer for the local firm of S.E. Minor & Company. After earning newly imposed state certification just prior to 1960, he was awarded a Professional Engineer’s License by the State of Connecticut.
Shortly thereafter, he joined the engineering department of the Town of Greenwich, the first civil engineer with such credentials and background. During his 25-year career with the town, Mr. Kennedy was a key figure in the design and supervision of several large scale municipal projects, inaugurating a new era wherein the in-house town engineering staff designed and implemented projects previously handled exclusively under contract by outside engineering firms.
He advanced steadily through the management ranks, and after several promotions, he was appointed Commissioner of Public Works in 1979, and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1987 at the age of 70. The John J. Kennedy Fleet Maintenance and Highway Facility on Indian Field Road was so named in his honor on Sept. 15, 1994, in recognition of his significant contributions to the Town of Greenwich over his long and successful professional career.
Mr. Kennedy was a devout Catholic, a parishioner of St. Clement's Church, who was guided by his faith throughout his life. He was a man of music, spending many hours singing and playing the violin and guitar. He also had an avid interest in photography. A lover of nature, he enjoyed spending time at Tod’s Point and feeding the birds. Above all he was a devoted family man and a true friend to many.
Mr. Kennedy is survived by his daughter, Judith Kennedy Allison (John) of Stamford, and three sons, Michael Kennedy (Kathleen) of Concord, MA, John T. Kennedy of Fairfield, and Jeffry M. Kennedy (Suzanne) of Alstead, NH; five grandchildren, Sean M. Kennedy (Kristen) of Littleton, MA, Brian P. Kennedy of Boston, MA, Colleen Kennedy of Manchester, NH, Michael B. Kennedy of Fairfield, CT and Cary Kennedy of New York City, and numerous nieces and nephews.
In addition to his wife, he was predeceased by his daughter-in-law Valerie Duff Kennedy, and by three sisters, Catherine Kennedy Meany, Mary Kennedy, and Elizabeth Kennedy.
Friends may call at the Castiglione Funeral Home, 134 Hamilton Ave., Greenwich, from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 21. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 9 a.m. Friday, March 22, at St. Mary Church, 178 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich. Burial will follow at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers , the family request donations be made to the American Heart Association, 5 Brookside Dr. Wallingford, CT 06492, or a charity of one's choice.