Joseph Thomas Kennedy Jr.
May 14, 1943 – March 8, 2018
Joseph Thomas Kennedy Jr. was born in Omaha, Nebraska on May 14, 1943 at St. Joseph hospital to parents Joseph Thomas Kennedy Sr. and Delphine Alice Langdon Kennedy.
He is the first born of five children, brothers Mike and John and two sisters Trish and Kellee. He often said that he felt more like a father figure to his youngest brother and sister John and Kellee because of the large age gap…being closer to the age of his own children Kimberly and Joseph Carl (J.C). He joined the United States Air Force after graduating from Shenandoah Community High School in 1961. He married his high school sweetheart Deanna Sue Benedict and together they built a beautiful family. They traveled to Minot, North Dakota (the arm pit of hell dad always said) where Kimberly and J.C. were born, then to New York where dad spent 18 months on a unaccompanied tour at Goose Bay Air Force Base in Labrador. The next adventure was off to England where they would spend the next five years traveling and site seeing, building a lifetime of treasured memories. England would have been a place they would have loved to stay in longer if they could, but Sue’s health would bring them back to the United States and Fairchild Air Force base in Washington State. The Kennedy family made Spokane home, arriving at Fairchild AFB during the World Expo in 1974. Sue’s health took a serious decline shortly after arriving at Fairchild. A diagnosis of Lupus would take her kidneys and result in several years of kidney dialysis and failed kidney transplants. Sue died in an unfortunate automobile accident in 1979.
Joe retired from the Air Force in 1985 as a SMSGT (E-8). After retirement he worked for the USDA, SPAM, and McVicars & Assoc. Joe knew love after Sue but when he met Cheryl he realized he was fortunate enough to find a great love later in life, his last love. Joe and Cheryl Jean Miller married in 2010 (they eloped!) They enjoyed a fantastic life full of love and laughter! Together they shared the love of Gonzaga basketball, Seattle Seahawks (until players took a knee which resulted in dad boycotting watching the Hawks!) They even became WSU fans for Abby…”Go Cougs”!!!!! More than anything Joe enjoyed his grandchildren and great grandchildren and spoiled them with “Papa Joe” love. He loved BIG and was loved BIG in return. His health really took a toll on him these last few years but he always said “it is…what it is. He would not allow himself or anyone else to dwell on it.
In the months before his death he spoke often of Sue and how very much he missed her. He spoke of the conversations he would have with her when he saw her again. He reflected on mistakes made and battles won, on the good and the bad in his life. There is no doubt that while he would have given anything to stay here with us longer, he is now dancing in heaven with his Sue.
We will all miss you our goofy lovable Irishmen.