Obituary of Craig Kennedy
Craig Kennedy was a man known by many names in his lifetime. He was called Pararescueman, Senior Master Sergeant, Veteran, Ironman, Coach and Mentor. His most cherished titles, however, were those given to him by his family. It was his highest honor to be called husband to Joanne, whom he loved more than life, and Dad to Jacquelin and Colin, whom he called his greatest accomplishments. He was known as ‘Papa’ to his grandchildren, the joys of his life: Kennedy, Serafina, Finnian, Callie, Connor and Evangelina. He was a loving father-in-law to John and Emily, beloved brother to Judith, Andy, Sal, Cyn, Steve, and Doug and a legendary uncle to many nieces and nephews.
In his 38 years of service in the United States Air Force, Craig lived by the rescue motto, “These things we do, that others may live.” His career as pararescue team leader in Homestead, FL could fill novels with his heroism, intrepidness and sacrifice. Craig parachuted into dangerous seas filled with frenzied sharks, dropped into enemy territory, was tossed in terrific storms, and spent the night lost alone at sea - risking his life countless times for those in danger. No matter the conditions, Craig served the country he loved and sacrificed bravely so ‘That others may live.’ He was first on scene at the explosion of Challenger space shuttle, survivor and rescueman in the path of perilous hurricanes, and served four tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Craig was both a witness to and a part of history, and history will remember him as a true American Hero.
Craig was a force of personality who made instant friends anywhere he went. A master storyteller, he would transfix you with his wild tales and leave you laughing and amazed every time. Many counted Craig as a lifelong friend, including his friends and teammates at McQuaid Jesuit, his brother Airmen, and those who were lucky enough to know him. Affectionately known to many as just ‘Coach,’ Craig mentored and impacted a whole generation of athletes - in football, lacrosse, basketball, baseball and any sideline he was on. He was a second father to every kid on or off the field.
Craig lived a life that cannot be captured in so few words. He made many daring jumps into the darkness during his life, yet his family is assured by faith that this last greatest leap has brought him into the light of the Everlasting. In his death the world mourns a great man gone too soon but we rejoice to know that he is now in heaven standing tall.
Craig Kennedy spent his last Thanksgiving surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. He peacefully passed into Eternal Life on Sunday morning, November 26th. His memorial service will be held at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church on Tuesday, December 12th at 12:30pm Visitation and Mass at 1:00 pm. Reception to follow in the church hall.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Craig Kennedy, please visit Tribute Store