Patricia “Patty” Claire Kennedy
March 19, 1942 – December 19, 2019
On Dec. 19, 2019, heaven gained another angel – and this one has beautifully quilted wings.
Patricia “Patty” Claire Kennedy was born March 19, 1942, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Jens Henry and Mary Claire Jensen. She passed away at the age of 77.
She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, friend, teacher and fellow quilter.
She attended Blessed Sacrament School. She graduated from Bishop Heelan High School in Sioux City in 1959. While in high school, she met and fell in love with Bill Kennedy. She was head-over-heels about him. They were married on Sept. 1, 1962. And in 1963, they started their family.
After high school, Patty went to X-ray technician school and worked at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Sioux City for several years.
With a love for crafting that was sparked when she was a young girl, she also did a lot of seamstress work. Along with that knack for sewing, she had a fearless entrepreneurial spirit. In the 1960s, she made and sold Barbie doll clothes as a side job while she was raising four children in Nebraska City, Nebraska. That was just the beginning of a lifetime of sharing her love for all things fabric and thread.
By 1970, the family of six was living in Omaha, Nebraska, where Patty continued to run her own home business as a seamstress. She also started quilting, getting to know other quilters and participating in quilt shows.
In the 1980s, Patty and a quilting friend took a leap of faith and opened the Log Cabin Quilt Shop near 119th and Pacific St. in Omaha. This small two-family business quickly became a home-away-from-home for quilters of all levels. It was filled with fabrics, patterns and notions and included a classroom where they inspired hundreds of students every year. It wasn’t long before they needed to move to a bigger location near 120th and West Center Road in Omaha. After 17 years, Patty sold her share of the business and went to work for Bernina Sewing Center of Omaha. There, she got to continue to share the joy of sewing, embroidery and quilting.
Patty was always very active in numerous local, state and national quilt organizations, and her work was featured in a number of quilt publications and shows. In 1990, the Nebraska State Quilt Guild honored Patty with the Golden Thread Award, which recognizes consistent efforts and great contributions to the art of quilt making.
She dearly loved the quilting community, her students and her customers. She was patient and encouraging as they learned the art. And she inspired others to take their skills to a new level.
Through the span of approximately four decades, Patty made hundreds of quilts – most of them complete masterpieces. Some were made for family. Some made for friends. Some just made for fun – or to provide her a new challenge. She even designed and quilted a wedding dress for one of her daughters that received national accolades.
One quilt in particular is especially meaningful. Patty called it “Bill’s Quilt” because he was always asking when she was going to work on his quilt. Patty started that quilt in the 1980s. She put a lot of love into every single stitch of the quilt that beautifully features the Kennedy family crest, a tribute to the family’s Irish heritage. She finally completed the quilt about 20 years later, in 2003, much to Bill’s delight.
On almost any given day for the past 10 years, Patty could be found working away in her sewing room on quilts for family, friends or those in need. She made numerous lap quilts that she donated to hospitals and churches. And just before the sun would set, she would move to the family room, where she would knit the nights away, making hats and scarves, including countless knitted baby hats for newborn babies in area hospitals.
Patty was survived by her husband of 57 years, Bill Kennedy; their children: Kathy KennedySmith (Cliff), John Kennedy (Marci Coates), Karen Murray and Kelly Tracer (Matt); nine grandchildren: Brandon KennedySmith, Brittany KennedySmith, Claire Kennedy, Patrick Kennedy, Jessica Kennedy, Josh Kennedy, Blake Tracer, Bailey Tracer and Michelle Muller (Mike); and a brother, Francis Jensen (Sue). Two of the grandchildren are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force overseas.
She will be dearly missed, but she will not be forgotten. Her quilts will surround her family and friends like a comforting warm hug for generations to come.
Family will receive friends Thursday, December 26th from 5pm to 7pm, at the West Center Chapel followed by a VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, December 27th, 11am, Holy Cross Catholic Church (4810 Woolworth Ave.) INTERMENT: Calvary Cemetery. Memorials will be directed by the family.