James "Jim" F. Kennedy

Posted: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Longtime Juneau resident James "Jim" F. Kennedy died Oct. 5, 2009, in Seattle, Wash., after a short illness. He was 81.

In 1971, he moved with his family from California to take a job as the newly formed city's first finance director. He remained with the city until retiring in 1988. He used to say he didn't understand how people could spend a lifetime here and then retire somewhere else; retiring in Juneau was his career objective, he often quipped.

He was born March 15, 1928, in San Diego, Calif. He served in the Army Air corps in the Pacific from 1946 to 1950 and got a degree in finance from San Diego State University on the G.I. Bill. He worked for San Diego County and then as Finance Director for the City of Livermore, Calif., until he accepted the job in Juneau in 1971.

The sea was his great passion. Although he arrived in Juneau in the fall of 1971, he and his first wife Pat owned a boat and were on the water their very first spring! He continued to explore the Inside Passage, never growing tired of the adventure, until he sold the last of his boats named "Zeke" on his 80th birthday in 2008. Jim and his first wife were very active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary and he achieved the rank of commodore.

"Although there is city ordinance prohibiting Kennedy from bursting into song, Juneau's Lyric Opera Company was his second big passion," his family wrote. "If you were lucky enough to catch a performance, there is a very good chance Jim sold you the ticket."

He was preceded in death by his parents, David Kennedy and Catherine Chisholm Kennedy; sister, Elizabeth Kennedy; wife of 38 years, Pat Kennedy; and son, Timothy White.

He is survived by his wife, Ann Kennedy, of Juneau; sister, Grace Hawkes, of San Diego; daughters, Kathryn Kennedy King, Karen Kennedy and Colleen Kennedy Kautz, all of Juneau; sons, John White, of Juneau, James F. Kennedy Jr., of Anchorage, Jeffery White, of Salem, Ore., Daniel Lakip and Terry White, of Juneau, and their spouses; cousin, Peggy Tracy, of Boston; nieces, Donna Love, of Madison, Wis., and Susan Rackley, of San Diego; sister-in-law, Carol Geanoulis; nephew, Stephen Geanoulis; and 15 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren, mostly of Juneau.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Church of Christ, 8755 Trinity Drive, where he was recently baptized, with a reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to: Juneau Lyric Opera, the American Cancer Society and Hospice and Homecare of Juneau.

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