Born on November 15, 1928 in Lynn to John F. Kennedy and Theresa (Cullen) Kennedy, Bob was a graduate of St. Mary’s High School in 1946 and Norwich University in 1950. After graduation, he served as First Lieutenant in the US Army during the Korean War. For his honorable service, he was awarded the Bronze Star.
Following his military service, he returned to the US to start a life with his wife Phyllis. The two began married life in New York City where Bob worked for Shell Oil but soon returned home to be closer to their families. After returning to the North Shore and welcoming three children, Bob spent more than three decades as a partner in the Moran Fuel Company in Lynn. During that time he became a respected leader in the Lynn business community, serving as a director and president of the Lynn Rotary Club and the Boards of Directors for the former Colonial Bank, Eastern Bank and Union Hospital.
Bob’s life was defined by service to others. He served for decades as a board member and president of the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn, founded the “V Club” of St. Pius V Parish to raise funds for the parish, volunteered for My Brother’s Table, The Salvation Army and the Lynn Special Olympics, and was a VIP blood donor for the American Red Cross. For his lifelong commitment to service, he was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 1985, was inducted into the Lynn Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame in 1995, was awarded the National Service to Youth Award by Boys & Girls Club of America in 2000, and was given the Commitment to Service Award by Rotary International in 2004. In his honor, the Boys & Girls Club of Lynn established the “Robert Kennedy Helping Hands Award” to recognize individuals and organizations who exemplified his commitment to volunteerism.
The epitome of a family man, Bob’s greatest joy was his wife of 68 years, Phyllis (Moran) Kennedy who passed away in 2020, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was a devoted and loving husband throughout his marriage and could often be found holding hands with Phyllis in the twilight years of their lives together.
He was a doting father to his two sons and daughter, and whether he was getting up early each Sunday to chauffeur on a paper route, coach a summer league hockey team, or serve as the announcer each year at the skating show, he always found a way to support each of them and their interests.
Pa, as he was affectionately known, was a constant presence in his grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives from sports and school events, regular family dinners, and lively games of dominoes and 31 around the kitchen table. He never missed an opportunity to tell them how much he loved them and how proud he was of them.
An avid reader and historian, he exhibited intellectual curiosity throughout his life, and his depth and breadth of knowledge and his extensive back catalogues of everything from encyclopedias, National Geographic issues, to newspaper clippings were the source material for many school projects for his children and grandchildren.
He was a man of great faith exemplified by his active participation in the St. Pius V of Lynn parish for 50 years and the Our Lady of the Assumption parish for 16 years. Outside of his Catholic faith, he also demonstrated his unwavering optimism as a lifelong and avid fan of the Boston Red Sox.
Last, but certainly not least, his jovial and caring nature also meant his life was filled with long and rich friendships including the 50+ year friendship he and Phyllis shared with their Sweetser Terrace neighbors John and Lucille Kennedy, and many other close friends over the years.
Bob is survived by his three children and their spouses whom he loved and treated like his own children - Paul Kennedy and his wife Deborah, Anne Hourihan and her husband Mark, and John Kennedy and his wife Sharon. He was an adoring grandfather to his eight grandchildren, Kate Freeman and her husband Brad, Courtney Willard and her husband Randy, Sara Cully and her wife Broghan, Rob Kennedy, Dan Kennedy, Mike Kennedy and his wife Isabella, Mark Hourihan and his wife Mollie, and Christine Kennedy. He was also beloved by his seven great-grandchildren, Liam and Rory Freeman, Luke and Noah Willard, Grace and Maeve Hourihan, and Kiehl Cully. In addition to his wife Phyllis, he was predeceased by his sisters, Mary Kennedy, Claire Hegan, Jane Flanagan, and brother John Kennedy.
Visiting Hours will be held on Tuesday, November 28 from 3-7 PM at the Cuffe McGinn Funeral Home in Lynn. A Funeral Mass will be held the following morning at 10 AM at Our Lady of the Assumption in Lynnfield, MA. Burial to immediately follow at Swampscott Cemetery in Swampscott, MA.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent in his memory to St. Mary’s High School in Lynn, MA