William R. Kennedy

William R. Kennedy

April 15, 1941 – June 30, 2023

William “Bill” Russell Kennedy


Look out heaven, here he comes!

William “Bill” Russell Kennedy was born April 15, 1941, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Gerald and Rita Kennedy. On, June 30, 2023, he passed away at the age of 82 at his Omaha home surrounded by love and years of memories.

He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, brother and friend. He will be remembered as a kind soul with a big heart and fun sense of humor who was humorously ornery, too.

He grew up in Sioux City, where he attended Cathedral of the Epiphany’s Elementary and Bishop Heelan High School. While in high school, he met and fell in love with Patricia “Patty” Jensen. She was head-over-heels about him.

After he graduated high school in 1959, Bill earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from Morningside College. While still in college, he and Patty were married on Sept. 1, 1962, in Sioux City. In 1963, they started their family. They had three daughters and a son.

By 1970, the family of six was living in Omaha, Nebraska, where Bill continued to work for Goodyear and Graham Tire, serving clients throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa. After more than a quarter of a century working in the tire business, he transitioned to a new career as a family assistant at Boys Town. After his official retirement, he went on to work in the meat department at Albertson’s and in the men’s fashion department Sears.

Bill loved everything that honored his Irish heritage, from his dream trip touring across Ireland in the 1980s,  and listening to classic Irish ballads in his own Irish man cave to wearing his bright green shamrock suspenders and a brief secret stint in an Irish dancing troupe.

And while he raised his children to be Nebraska fans and installed a speaker system in the back of his Chevy pickup truck that blared the “There is No Place Like Nebraska” fight song to celebrate every Husker touchdown in the ’70s and ’80s, his heart was always with his beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. He was able to travel to South Bend, Indiana, a few times to watch the Fighting Irish play on their home field, including a game against Nebraska in 2000. The luck of the Irish was not with his team that day, but it was still one of Bill’s favorite memories because he shared it with several of his family members and friends.

Bill was also a devout Catholic and active at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Omaha. He served on the Parish Council, helped coordinate a capital campaign and was the Head Usher of the noon Mass for many years. He especially loved serving as a youth group leader at the church, getting to know the young people of the church and chaperoning campouts.

He also was a great supporter of Patty, his wife, who was a founder and co-owner of the Log Cabin Quilt Shop in Omaha. She made hundreds of amazing quilts over the years for fun, for clients, for family and for friends, but one quilt in particular was especially meaningful for Bill. For several years, he asked her to make a quilt for him that would showcase a Kennedy family crest. As he saw her start and complete one quilt, after another, he would ask 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 it. She finally completed the quilt about 20 years later, in 2003, much to Bill’s delight. She named it “Bill’s Quilt.” Patty passed away in 2019, after 57 years of marriage.

In addition to his wife, his children and his grandchildren, Bill was very proud that he shot a hole-in-one on the 80-yard, par 3 No. 2 hole at Milt’s Golf Center amid his many years of golfing. He used a pitching wedge to sink it in one stroke on May 27, 1990, while golfing with Patty and John.

Bill is survived by their children: Kathy KennedySmith (Cliff), John Kennedy (Marci), Karen Murray (Todd “Woody” Woodruff) and Kelly Tracer (Matt); nine grandchildren: Brandon KennedySmith (Victoria Chenevert), Brittany KennedySmith, Claire Allen (Sean), Patrick Kennedy (Kelsey Lewis), Jessica Cooke (David), Josh Kennedy, Blake Tracer, Bailey Tracer and Michelle Muller (Mike); three great-grandchildren, Thea Chenevert, Finn KennedySmith and Lincoln Muller; two sisters, Jean Alice Schneider and Mary Francis Huwaldt (Dan); and a brother-in-law, Francis Jensen (Sue). Preceded in death by his parents; his wife, a son-in-law, Dennis Murray; and a brother-in-law, Jack Schneider. Three of the grandchildren are currently serving in the U.S. Air Force.

A special thank you to his longtime Home Health nurse, Lori; Hospice nurse, Tami; and Nurse Aide, Sophia, for the extraordinary care and companionship they provided for Bill and the family.


VISITATION: Wednesday, July 5th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm.  MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Thursday, July 6th at 1:30pm at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4810 Woolworth Ave.  Interment, Calvary Cemetery.  Memorials will be directed by the family.

Following the committal service, please join the family for a luncheon in St. Edwards Hall at Holy Cross Catholic Church.

To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


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