Patrick John “Pat” Kennedy, Lt Col USAF (ret)

Kennedy, Patrick John “Pat”, Lt Col USAF (ret)

June 26, 1934 – February 20, 2022

The country has lost a true American hero. Lieutenant Colonel Patrick John Kennedy “Pat”,  USAF (retired) passed away peacefully at the age of 87 on February 20, 2022, in Berlin, Germany, holding the hands of his wife of 52 years, Elsbeth.


“He literally kept us safe at night.” Pat was a highly decorated United States Air Force officer who served in several theaters. Pat began his Military career in 1954 as an aviation cadet at Bryan AFB in Texas, and after attending OCS became a commissioned officer, piloting Boeing B-47’s & B52’s. During the mid ‘60s he piloted Fairchild C123 aircraft in Vietnam, flying 738 Missions and receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal among others. All told Pat served at many duty stations: Strategic Air Command (SAC Headquarters) Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska (as part of Operation Looking Glass), Smoky Hill AFB – Kansas, Mather AFB – California, ToulRosières Air Base – France, to Ramstein AB – Germany, Offutt Air Force Base – Nebraska, and finally at Patch Barracks Armed Forces Base – Stuttgart, Germany, where he retired from the United States Air Force in 1978 after nearly 24 years of service.

Pat’s passion for flying continued as a civilian where he joined commercial airlines AeroAmerica and subsequently Air Berlin USA. There he captained Boeing 707’s and 737’s, and ultimately became Chief Pilot and Chief Flight instructor. Pat retired from civilian flying in 1994.


Pat was a very supportive and generous husband and father with his time and attention. With Elsbeth, he was an Arts and Culture enthusiast enjoying the Opera, Philharmonic, ballet, and supporting local art galleries and sculpture gardens. As a father Pat readily encouraged, supported and provided the opportunity to expand his children’s knowledge and experiences, develop skills and pursue their interests.

Although most conversation eventually led back to his joy of flying, Pat was an avid golfer, nature lover, and outdoorsman. He loved hiking and walks in the forests, parks, and gardens and he was a gentleman farmer at the Peaceful Valley Ranch in Springfield, Nebraska.

Pat was preceded in death by his father and mother, Francis and Isabelle (Sullivan) Kennedy; his brother, Francis T. (Margret) Kennedy; his sister, Lavelle DeHaan Rice; his son, Joseph Patrick Kennedy; and his grandson, Daniel Joseph Weaver. Pat is survived by his wife, Elsbeth Kennedy; their son, Tim (Flavia) Kennedy; and his daughters: Kathryn Weaver, Maureen (Mike) Kennedy-Antonellis, Colleen (Milton) Velez; his son, Kevin (Nelly) Kennedy; Joe’s wife, Janice Kennedy; thirteen grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The Funeral Service will be held Saturday, March 19th, 10:30 a.m. at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church, 3405 S. 118th St. in Omaha. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery, 7710 West Center Rd, Omaha.



  • Tom Deaver Posted March 14, 2022 3:59 pm

    Old pilots never die they just grow wings.

  • Donald R headley Posted March 19, 2022 11:54 am

    May you rest in peace Pat. What a legacy. You and I were two of the four last surviving men in the 1953 high school class at Louisville, Nebraska. We were team mates on the football team and sprinters together on the track team. If we had only known then that we were shoulder to shoulder with such future patriotism and greatness. Rest in peace and God Bless.

  • William Bill Farinholt Posted September 27, 2022 7:00 pm

    At my time as a young Staffsgt at Ramstein A B in Germany I was a flight engineer on Vt29s. He was a driving force on making me the man I am. Today. God speed my friend and am sorry we could not have played. A few rounds of golf together 👍

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