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Life Tributes for the week of 12/19/18

William J. (Bill) Kennedy

Bill Kennedy, 88, passed away peacefully at his home in McMinnville, Oregon, on Nov. 15, 2018. He was born on Feb. 9, 1930, in Flat River, Missouri, to Evelyn and Home Kennedy.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Vivian Kathleen.

He was a wonderful husband and partner to his wife, Helen. They had been married 68 years. Bill was very proud of his children. They were Dr. Dane Keith (Martha) Kennedy and Glenda Jef (Ken) Carter. He had three granddaughters: Megan Carter (Scott) Schmidt, Jennifer Carter (Adam) Borden and Alene Kennedy (Peter) Hendricks. There were two great-granddaughters: Hannah Schmidt and Hazel Hendricks.

Bill was a very avid reader and collector of books. In Visalia, he opened a used bookstore. He built bookcases in every house he owned. Reading was a daily part of the family life.

Bill loved discussions. Every day at the dinner table, Bill encouraged discussions about politics, community, school, history or whatever anyone wanted to talk about. Bill taught us to be sure of what we said because we would have to back up our beliefs. Bill loved to debate issues.

Bill was very active in civic and political affairs. He was chairman of the Visalia Historical Preservation Committee. He was chairman of the Tulare County Democratic Central Committee, an officer of the California Democratic Council and an officer for the State Democratic Central Committee. In 1974 and 1976, Bill ran for the California 32nd Assembly District seat. Though unsuccessful, the LA Times said he got more votes for his money than any candidate in the state.

In Portola, Bill served 12 years on the Portola City Council and one year as Mayor. Bill was instrumental in getting the River Walk built there and the Williams House as a visitor’s center and the Williams House Museum.

Bill loved to travel. The family lived in Missouri, California, New Mexico and Oregon. They traveled all over the West. The family took backpacking trips through the Sierra Mountains. They also took day trips to swim in nearby rivers. Bill and Helen also put 40,000 miles on a new car looking at Indian ruins.

A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

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