Mary Jo Jones Kennedy
Mary Jo Jones Kennedy, 91, passed away peacefully on January 26, 2020 in London, Ohio, where she had lived since the late 1940s. She was born on October 20, 1928, in Waverly, Ohio to John Anderson and Helen Speasmaker Jones. She is now reuniting with her beloved husband, William Linson Kennedy, who predeceased her in death on January 18, 1994. She and Bill met when she was working at the Farm Bureau and caught the eye of a handsome Navy Veteran home from World War II. Mary Jo was raised in Waverly where she was Valedictorian of the Class of 1946. She was a proud graduate with honors of the Great Mid Century Class of 1950 at Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority, the Women’s Glee Club, Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa. After graduating, she began a 33 year career as a business education teacher, at Lima, West Jefferson, and finally London High School, where she taught until her retirement. She rarely missed attending class reunions, and invariably, her former students would thank her for teaching them to type without looking at their keys. She loved teaching, and her students, developing lifelong relationships with many of them. She was a tireless volunteer for the Madison County Hospital, now Madison Health, amassing 8,311 hours in volunteer time. She was also a member of the Phi Beta Psi Sorority (Iota Beta Chapter), Coover Society, Delphian Literary Society, London Federation of Women’s Clubs, Ohio Eastern Star #386, Madison County Retired Teachers, London City Schools Academic Hall of Fame, Madison Health Foundation, The Madison County Hospital Auxiliary, serving as Membership and Scholarship Chair, a former member of both the London Country Club and the London Library Board of Trustees and a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of London, where she was in the choir and served on various committees. It was not uncommon for her to sing in the choir at Christmas Eve Services at the Methodist Church, and then walk the few blocks down Union Street to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, where she would join Bill and Doug for Midnight Mass. This certainly showed her ecumenical and forgiving spirit, as she and Bill were forced to be married in the Rectory of St. Patrick’s on August 9, 1952, since the mixed marriage between a Methodist and Roman Catholic could not take place in the sanctuary. She was a visible and vibrant presence in the lives of her family, rarely missing a choir concert, school play, basketball, football or lacrosse game of her cherished grandchildren, Kate and Conor. She was able to see both her grandchildren married, Conor and Hannah just this past September, and to hold her great grandson, Logan, in her last months.
She is survived and will be missed immeasurably by her son and daughter-in-law, Doug and Candy Kennedy, of Dublin, Ohio, and her grandchildren Kate (Ryan) Wheelbarger of Haymarket, Virginia, and Conor (Hannah) Kennedy of Columbus, and great grandson Logan Kennedy Wheelbarger; sister-in-law Betty Kennedy of Columbus, Candy’s sister Sarah Caldwell, Harwich, Massachusetts, and many nieces and nephews from both the Jones and Kennedy families. In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her brother and sister-in-law Bob and Betty Jones, and brothers and sisters-in-law, John and Jane Kennedy, Richard Kennedy, Jerry and Sharon Kennedy, Bob and Susi Kennedy, Ben and Kay Kennedy and Edward Kennedy. She also leaves behind many friends and neighbors in London whom she cherished, too numerous to mention.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at the Bluebird Retirement Community of London, Madison Health, Hospice of the Miami Valley, and Dr. Steven Richardson, Dr. Adam Manko and Dr. Vinay Chitkara for their care of Mary Jo over the years and particularly in her last months. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Ohio Wesleyan University or the First United Methodist Church of London in her memory.
A celebration of Mary Jo’s life will be held at 10:30 AM Friday, January 31, 2020 in the First United Methodist Church, 52 N. Main Street, London with Pastor Dave Leckrone officiating. Interment will follow in Kirkwood Cemetery, London. Friends may call at the EBERLE-FISHER FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY from 4-7 PM Thursday.
Online condolences for the family may be sent to www.eberlefisherfuneralhome.com.
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Ohio Wesleyan University
61 S. Sandusky St, Delaware OH 43015
First United Methodist Church
52 North Main St, London OH 43140