Friday, October 18, 2013
UPDATE (adds Westport memorial service) The Rev. Dana Forrest Kennedy, rector emeritus of Westport’s Christ & Holy Trinity Church, died Oct. 16 in Keene, N.H. He was 95.
He became rector of Christ & Holy Trinity Church in 1961 and held the position for 29 years.
Under his leadership, the parish acquired and added a church building and three houses adjacent to the historic Trinity Memorial Church, thus establishing three acres in the heart of downtown Westport for the exercise of the church ministry.
He also raised $2 million in endowments before he retired in 1989.
He established and became headmaster of the Christ and Holy Trinity Day school for pre-school children and developed a full-time staff of Curate, two secretaries, bookkeeper, sexton, choirmaster and organist.
Born Nov. 1, 1917, in Milbridge, he was the son of Chester and Geneva (Beal) Kennedy, and was brought up in Bangor, Maine.
He graduated from Bangor High School in the class of 1935, and went to the Bangor Maine School of Commerce for three years, graduating with a signed diploma and a BMSC medal in 1938.
He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Education Degree from the University of Maine and taught the Commercial Course at Gilman High School in Northeast Harbor, Maine for three years.
In 1945, he graduated from the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass., with a Master of Divinity degree. He worked as Curate at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, a large parish in Lynn, Mass., where among other things he headed the Vacation Bible School of the city’s Protestant churches.
Two years later he became Rector of St. Barnabas’ Church in Springfield, Mass., and also promotion director for the Diocese of Western Massachusetts.
In 1950, he went to St. James Church in Woonsocket, R.I., as Rector. While in Rhode Island he was on the Diocesan Council, President of the Clerics, member of the Examining Chaplains, host of a weekly TV program and two weekly radio programs.
From there he was called by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church As executive secretary of this division he worked closely with the Broadcasting and Film Commission of the National Council of Churches and acted as moderator on NBC-TV “Frontiers of Faith” panel program during the summer and fall of 1956, was preacher on two CBS “Church of the Air” programs, moderated three NCB Faith in Action programs.
He traveled throughout the United States helping Dioceses develop radio and TV programming, wrote for the National churches magazine FORTH as well as establishing and developing the staff and work of the Division of Radio and TV.
For 13 years he was a moderator of a nationally syndicated radio interview program, “Viewpoint.” This program was broadcast on WOR Radio network, Radio Free Europe and the Armed Forces Overseas Network, as well as being syndicated weekly on 400 radio stations nationwide from 1957 through 1971.
He interviewed celebrities and authors, such as George Meany, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Robert Young, Jessica Tandy, John Eisenhower, Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Jackie Robinson and more than 600 guests from the United States, Hawaii, Canada, and Europe.
He was a member of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Connecticut and was on the Communication Committee and for six years Dean of the Mid-Facilities Deanery.
In 1961, his interest in the region led him to become a member of The Norwalk Town Union of King’s Daughters and Sons, a regional home for the aged.
In 1972, the Norwalk Town Union created a new corporation, King’s Daughters and Sons Housing Inc. The corporation built a new $2.5 million elderly housing apartment house with 128 units for low income persons over 62 years of age.
He was a 50-year Mason and a longtime member of Rotary, and had a lifetime membership in the Society of the Mayflower descendants and the Sons of the American Revolution.
He was, at the request of President Chesley Husson, a member of the board of Trustees of Husson College and was present and took part in the dedication of the new land for the college. He was also a Trustee of Shimer College in Illinois.
He is the author of a small book of poems, “Waterbrooks Of The Spirit,” miscellaneous magazine articles, and in 1991, after he retired, he wrote a Bible to read to small children, entitled “My Very First Golden Bible.”
The Western Publishing Co. of Racine, Wisc., published it as one of the Golden Books. It has been reprinted several times and has sold more than 250,000 copies.
He was married for 54 years to Muriel Hallett Kennedy, now deceased. He has one son, Michael, married to Diane Clauson Kennedy of Trumball.; and three grandchildren, James Clauson Kennedy and wife, Christin, of Tupelo, Miss., Ryan Hallett Kennedy and wife, Danielle, of Bridgeport, and Michael Adams Kennedy and wife, Tricia, also of Bridgeport. He has two great-grandchildren, Elizabeth and Emma.
Visiting hours will be held 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 5-7 p.m. at the chapel of Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Homes, Milbridge.
A funeral service will be held Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 10 a.m. at the Milbridge Congregational Church.
A memorial service will be held at Christ & Holy Trinity on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m., in the Chancel.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Friends of the Milbridge Library, P.O. Box 128, Milbridge, ME 04658, Attention: Ms. Melissa Rapa.
Arrangements by Bragdon-Kelley Funeral Homes Inc., Milbridge.
Posted 10/18/13 at 08:18 PM
Angela and I cannot begin to say how much Dana was thought of in Westport . What was not mentioned was the fact that he also hosted a weekly radio show on WMMM-AM, a station we owned for many years, talking about local issues of interest, faith and theology.
Also, Christ & Holy Trinity is where the Graham family first met Dana ... he was instrumental in getting me involved in the acolyte program for 10+ years.
And, the best news is that when Dana had to retire from the church, forcing him to stay away from CHT, he gladly married Angela and I at Emmanuel Episcopal church, in Weston ... thank you Father Hank!
Honestly, I grew up with Dana ... he was always a friend, a mentor and just someone to touch base with even recently. My wife Angela recalls him as being “such a nice sincere man.”
God bless you, Dana! Your impact is felt, and you will be missed!
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