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James M. “Jimmy” Kennedy

December 25, 1942 – May 12, 2010

Hampton Union, Friday, May 14, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

James M. “Jimmy” Kennedy was born on December 25, 1942, in Lawrence, Massachusetts, the son of Francis W. and Catherine M. (Dineen) Kennedy. Born and raised in the Merrimack Valley, Jimmy was educated in the Lawrence school system. He was a graduate of both Lawrence High School and St. Francis College.

Jimmy spent many summers at Hampton Beach working at Funarama, his family’s summer business. He was also employed by the IRS in Andover, Massachusetts.

Hampton, New Hampshire, was always home and there he made his mark in real estate.

A longtime Seacoast Realtor working first for Yankee Trader and most recently as the co-owner of Kennedy and Loiseau Real Estate, Jimmy enjoyed the bustle of the job and the social dynamic that it offered. A people person, real estate kept him energized and connected to the community he so loved. Jimmy was certainly in his element.

Jimmy was proud of his family’s roots on Hampton Beach and he remained involved and engaged in the community and its causes. A proud and dynamic citizen, he held such positions as: former Hampton Beach Village District Precinct Commissioner, founding member of Royal Society Bridge Club and founding member of Hampton Beach Seafood Festival Committee. He also was a proud participant in the Town of Hampton 350th Anniversary Committee. Jimmy will be especially remembered for his role in the famous fund raising camel ride through Hampton Beach in June 1981.

Jimmy will be fondly remembered as an honest and sincere man. A true raconteur with a penchant for the colorful, he was an engaging fellow who could always make you smile.

His passing marks the end of a bygone era on Hampton Beach; his endearing presence will be greatly missed.

Jimmy is survived by his sister and brother in law, Claire M. (Mrs. I. Peter) Connolly of Waltham, Massachusetts; his brothers, Francis W. “Frank” Kennedy, Jr. and John J. “Jack” Kennedy of Hampton, New Hampshire; nephew Peter J. Connolly and his wife Lura Taylor of Carlisle, Massachusetts; niece Kathleen (Mrs. Richard) McClemmy of San Juan Capistrano, California; and grandnephews Sean McClemmy, Patrick McClemmy, Paul Connolly and grandniece Kim Rochette.

A Mass of Christian burial will celebrated on Monday morning, May 17, 2010 at Saint Theresa of Lisieux Church, 820 Central Road, Rye Beach, New Hampshire at 11:00 AM. Family and friends are invited to call to the Robert K. Gray, Jr. Funeral Home, 24 Winnacunnet Road, Hampton, New Hampshire on Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM. Interment in the family lot, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Waiverly Road, North Andover, Massachusetts, will be held on Tuesday morning, May 18, 2010 at 10:00 AM. Family and friends are invited to his burial service. In his memory, contributions may be made to the Hampton Police Mounted Patrol Fund, c/o Kennedy and Loiseau Real Estate, 330 Ocean Boulevard, Hampton, New Hampshire 03842 or Team Up for Down Syndrome, 1100 Irvine Boulevard, Suite 35, Tustin, California, 92780.

Untimely Passing of our “Old Pal,” Jimmy Kennedy

A Tribute

Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, May 19, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Scene]

“Jimmy” Kennedy and Friends

We all lost a very dear friend on Wednesday, May 12. I know words cannot heal the hurt felt by our entire community at the sudden and untimely passing of our old pal, Jimmy Kennedy. Newcomer to Hampton or life-long resident it didn’t take long before you crossed paths with Jimmy because he was personally involved with so many activities on the Seacoast. Jimmy was indeed an Icon of Hampton Beach, a personable, down to earth man loved by all who knew him.

A native of Lawrence , Massachusetts where he spent his early years, Jimmy grew up on Hampton Beach as a summer resident in his youth and later as a year round resident and eventually businessman.

He was appointed a Hampton Beach Precinct commissioner in 1978 to fill a vacant seat on the board. He subsequently ran and was elected to a full term. On that particular night he was elected, at a small celebration with gathered friends, with demonstration of his quick Irish wit, Jimmy jokingly proclaimed, “from now on just call me commissioner”, and we did! Actually, some 27 years after he left the office we were all still calling him and referring to him as “The Commissioner”!!

There are several people in town sufficiently well known to most of us, that they are usually , referred to by first name only. However, over the years, many people have served as precinct commissioners, but only one person was ever recognized and widely known as “The Commissioner”, Jimmy Kennedy! I therefore strongly urge, that such honorary title be retired in his honor!

Jimmy was involved in almost everything: Village Precinct and Chamber of Commerce activities; the town Children’s Christmas Parades (if he had his way we would still be doing that for the town’s children); the town 350th Anniversary parade; the Charity Roasts for My Greatest Dream (for terminally ill Children); founding charter member of the Royal Society Bridge Club; the rebuilding of the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival 2000-2003; numerous political campaigns and many other seacoast initiatives and promotions.

His enthusiasm, interpersonal communication skills, fiscal management expertise and adept fund raising initiatives and promotions and events, which provided tens of thousands dollars for charities, organizations and special events.

Jimmy was never out front soaking up personal recognition. He was nearly always inside the team effort structure, organizing, urging, advising and suggesting. That was his key to success!

The one exception that I remember with Jimmy being the guy out front I will share with you: The famous “Hampton Camel Ride” in June 1981!

What started out as a simple wager made between two friends in January of that year. It started out as a frolic to provide fun to help pass the dark winter days until Spring. It grew into a regional story of great interest, promoting Hampton Beach. It culminated in an event with regional and national TV Coverage with news helicopters whop-whooping overhead and thousands lining the streets of Hampton Beach and Hampton to witness the event.

Jimmy Kennedy stated in December that he was going on a diet in the new year to lose weight. Mike Daboul spoke up and said he would bet that Jimmy could not reduce his weight to 175 lbs (a loss of 40 lbs) by June the 1st. Now John Tinios (owner of the Galley Hatch Restaurant) spoke-up supporting Jimmy and said he would treat Mike Daboul and his family to dinner, once a week for a year if Jimmy did not reduce to 175 lbs or less! Daboul said if Jimmy made the weight of 175 lbs he would hire and ride a Bactrian Camel and ride it the length of the beach and up to the Galley Hatch location on Lafayette Road uptown. The game was at hand, and many side bets were negotiated relative to the outcome of the contest.

By mid-February Jimmy did not appear to be progressing toward victory. So, in desperation, the Galley Hatch removed Jimmy’s main bachelor dinner staple from their menu, Steak and Cheese subs. By late April Jimmy’s supporters, in order to monitor his progress more closely, instituted a secret twice a week weigh-in on the meat scale in the freezing kitchen of Danny Twomey’s Whales Tale Restaurant.

The rest is history, on June 1st a smiling John Tinios watched the official weigh-in before hundreds assembled in the Galley Hatch parking lot. Supervised by an MD using a certified Exeter Hospital scale, a trim Jimmy surrounded by his promoters and Manager “Cauliflower McPug” removed a boxer’s robe with “Kid Kennedy ” emblazoned across the back, stepped on to the scale and officially weighed-in at 170 lbs!

A roar went up from the crowd, the music came on and in celebration, Kay Tinios danced a polkas in the arms of “F-Troop TV star Larry Storch (who was appearing at the Hampton Playhouse).

As good as his promise, Mike Daboul rode “Humphrey” the camel the length of Hampton Beach and all the way up town to the Galley Hatch with “Killer Kid Kennedy” in an open jeep with driven by Cauliflower McPug right behind the camel; followed by a float of Dancing Harem girls and Helicopters from many TV stations overhead. TV cameras and thousands of spectators lined the route. Thus ended one of the biggest media promotions Hampton Beach ever enjoyed starring for the only time, Jimmy Kennedy.

“Jimmy (Commissioner) we are all very proud to have known you, worked with you and call you friend. Know you are fondly loved and will be sadly missed, but never forgotten.. .God Bless and rest in Peace old Pal!!”

Gerald “Jerry” Dignam

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