Kennedy, Joseph He turned 21 on a boat to Korea, where he fought for four months on the front line of America's "Forgotten War.'' In the end, after assisting injured soldiers as a corpsman, he witnessed part of the final exchange of prisoners. But in his easy-going way, Joe brushed over the trauma when asked about the war. His favorite tales from that time revolved around eccentric platoon members, moments of dark humor and the kindness his MASH unit showed to needy villagers who showed up - babies in arms - for food, clothing and medicine. Raised on Coal Street in the mining town of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Joe joined the Navy to get out of a region that was tanking in prosperity. Post war, he followed his heart to the West Side of Saint Paul, marrying Alma Ann Abbott, a graduate of Humboldt High School. They raised seven children during a 65-year marriage that ended Oct. 10 when Joe died from Parkinson's Disease. He was 88. Joseph Patrick Kennedy graduated from college in three years, with honors, while working a full-time job and helping Alma with their first-born, Libby. With CPA license in hand, he launched an accounting career with the Great Northern Railroad. He later took a job in the federal government that lasted nearly 40 years. All along, he moonlighted as a college professor, including night school at St. Thomas University, his alma mater. At St. Michael's Catholic Church in West St. Paul, parishioners knew they were in for a loud, dramatic reading of the scriptures if Joe was at the lectern. He reveled in public speaking and lived to talk with anyone, strangers included. A Hollywood film junkie and voracious reader, he spent hours every week with his subscription to The New Yorker, arming himself with cartoons and amazing stories to share with family, friends and golfing buddies. Joe played poker with the same group of guys for more than 50 years. He took an interest in impressionist painters, travelling to museums in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Rome and Paris. He shared his passion by gifting his children and grandchildren with framed prints of paintings by Monet, Degas, Renoir and Cezanne. A sharp dresser, he loved gifting shirts and ties from Brooks Brothers. Born in 1931 to Anthony and Elizabeth (Mundy) Kennedy of Wilkes-Barre, he was preceded in death by his brother, Tony, and sisters Mary Mulvey, Nancy and Elizabeth. He is survived by his brother, Francis, of St. Paul. He leaves Alma and children Libby (Greg) Powers, Jean (Scott) Burris, Tony (Melissa Wandschneider), Kathleen (Mike) Hanson, Peggy (Joe) Mansur, Patrick (Gina), and Ann (Steve) Nordstrom. Grandchildren are John, Kate and Tom Powers; Alexandra (Burris) Quinn, Emily Burris-Ellenbecker, Colin and Joseph Burris; Joseph and Jack Kennedy; Erin and Michael Hanson; Patrick, Michael, Teresa, Joseph Paul and Bill Mansur; Cal Kennedy; Sofie Marie and Kennedy Jane Nordstrom. Great-grandchildren are Olivia and Henry Quinn. Private services were held. Memorials to Holy Family Maronite Catholic Church of Mendota Heights.
Published on October 18, 2020
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