Kenneth James Kennedy Jr.

 
Jim with FatherKenneth James Kennedy Jr. (or “Jim” for those who knew him for more than one minute) snapped his last photo on May 30, 2015.  Jim found beauty in just about everyone and everything he encountered – discovering photography late in life as a way to capture and share that beauty with anyone that would listen!

Jim was born in Akron Ohio on November 17, 1936 to Kenneth Kennedy Sr. and Dorothea Faye Miller.  Jim always kept busy and started working in high school as a paperboy – delivering papers first on his bicycle and then later with his two-door yellow Crosley he bought with his earnings.  He learned to grow evergreen trees with his father in a hothouse they had built in the backyard – the beginning of his love of plants.  On family trips, Jim and his sister, Diane, were required to read the maps while their father drove – leading to their shared, uncanny sense of direction and love of geography.

Jim joined ROTC while in college at Akron University and enlisted in the US Air Force immediately after graduating in May of 1958.  He trained and became a pilot for the Air Force in Honolulu Hawaii, flying cargo transport airplanes to and from Asia and around the world.  He managed to avoid the battlefield during the Vietnam War and was honorably discharged in October 1963.

Moving to California, Jim got married and returned to the working world by enrolling in an Jim with KidsMBA program at San Jose State.  After graduating, he started work in commercial finance in downtown San Francisco.  He was the first employee at his firm to start using a new device at the time called a computer – he eventually convinced his management to successfully computerize much of their operations.  In 1978, Jim moved his family to Seattle for a new job, and introduced his three kids to the beautiful and wet Pacific Northwest.

Jim took the time to really connect with his children as they were growing up, both in terms of activities and emotionally.  Whether it was refereeing Caroline’s soccer games, backpacking with Paul on Boy Scout trips, or taking Justin on numerous fishing expeditions, Jim always took an active part in their endeavors.  He challenged his kids to be true to themselves and spend their lives doing meaningful things with meaningful people.  He taught them to be honest and direct and to never judge someone by their race, gender, religion, creed or appearance.  He helped his kids feel completely accepted, cherished and centered if they ever lost their way growing up.

Jim PhotographerAfter 30 years of working, Jim retired in 1995 and became an avid bicyclist, embarking on numerous rides with his sister and trips abroad.  Moving to Sebastopol, California, he began his love affair with flowers and especially orchids.  Becoming an expert in hybridization, he created several new species of orchids, naming many of them after family members.  His love of flowers gradually morphed into an even greater passion for photography, and for the last 10 years of his life, Jim was never seen without a camera in his hands and a tripod in the trunk of his car.

For the people in his life, it was always crystal clear how Jim felt and what was on his mind – he always found good in everyone he met and was never apologetic about his love for his kids, his work, his military service and his hobbies.  Jim is survived by his sister, Diane, his sons Paul and Justin, his daughter Caroline, his nephews Joel and Jeff, and his 8 grandchildren:  Jacob, Hannah, Naomi, Jack, Brooke, Kismet, Gazel and Olivia.

One Response to “Kenneth James Kennedy Jr.”

  • Joan Droblyen Bailey says:

    So sorry to read about your dad. I graduated with Jim from Copley in 1954. We just celebrated our 61st class reunion last Saturday. Out of the class of 66 we have lost 26 members.

    Sincerely,
    Joan

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