Robert Lawson Kennedy, Jr.

June 22, 1919December 8, 2012

Robert Lawson Kennedy, Jr. June 22, 1919 – December 8, 2012.

Best remembered for his love of family, eternally optimistic outlook, and his unwavering faith, Robert Lawson Kennedy, Jr. died on Saturday, December 8.

Born to Emma D. and Dr. Robert L. Kennedy, M.D. in Raiford, Florida, on June 22, 1919, he spent most of his childhood in Malone, Florida. After graduation from the University of Florida, he accepted a teaching position at Sneads High School, where he also served as Assistant Coach, and later as Assistant Principal. He left Sneads, Florida to enlist in the U. S. Navy shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor and was commissioned as an Ensign. On December 22, 1942, while on a 5-day leave in Washington, D.C., he married Barbara Womack, an English teacher he had met while teaching in Sneads. Released from active duty in November, 1945 he remained in the Naval Reserve, retiring at the rank of Commander in 1979. He moved to Tallahassee in 1945 where he began a long and distinguished career with the State of Florida. After the State Retirement Systems were consolidated and the Division of Retirement was established, he became Florida’s first State Retirement Director and served in that position until his retirement in October, 1979.

Deeply religious, he was always active in his church. He and Barbara became charter members of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church when it was established in 1954 where they each held many responsible positions during their 60 years of marriage and until her death in 2002. He wrote poetry throughout his adult life and, without much prompting, would recite any of them from memory. He published a small book in 2001; a mix of his own poetry, life’s lessons, spiritual messages, and amusing anecdotes about the citizens of Malone. An avid golfer, Bob was a charter member Capital City Country Club, where in his retirement years he would play several times each week.

Bob is survived by his son, Robert Lawson Kennedy, III of Tallahassee; his sister, Margaret Kennedy Lewis of Panama City; a brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law; along with many nieces and nephews, all of whom feel it was a privilege to know him.

Services are scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12, with visitation an hour earlier at 12:00 noon at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in the ‘Burleigh Law Chapel’ 1700 N. Meridian Road, Tallahassee. A graveside service will follow at Roselawn Cemetery on Piedmont Road. In lieu of flowers, the family requests for donations to be made to St. Paul’s Methodist Church, 1700 N. Meridian Road, Tallahassee, Florida, 32303. Personal condolences should be sent to P.O. Box 12609, Tallahassee, Florida 32317.


  • Funeral Service Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Robert Lawson Kennedy, Jr.

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