It is with a very heavy heart that Kreg White and the Kennedy Family announces the passing of Kathleen Ann Kennedy (sister #2) on December 4th, 2022 at her home. Kathleen's life story can best be shared with laughter, passion and rohkeutta (Finnish for BOLDNESS).
On July 9, 1961, Kathleen's older sister Tammy got knocked out of first place (only in dad's eyes) when Kathleen was born to the late Wallace and Audrey Kennedy…followed by Bryan, Mike, Mary, Patty and Billy.
As a child, Kathleen had a few learning obstacles and needed extra help (In reality, it was a performance of a lifetime). Ma sought assistance from Elva Niemi, a grade-school teacher in Westboro. It was also at Rib Lake School where teachers Babe Stellick and Carol Kobielush reinforced that seed. Babe accompanied Kathleen (and Barb Niemi) to compete in the internationally televised High Quiz Bowl. While they didn't win, it was on that trip that Kathleen (and Barb Niemi) decided to become a teacher…because Babe Stellick was cool (she tolerated their shenanigans!) Kathleen graduated from Rib Lake High School in 1979 and in 1984, Kathleen earned her Bachelors Degree in Education with a minor in bull****.
Kathleen proudly started her teaching career at Suring, WI where she taught for a few years. She moved on to a little bigger district when she began teaching in Necedah from 1989 - 1999. At this time, she finally moved back to where she belonged and began teaching at her Alma Mater, Rib Lake High School. Her favorite teaching gig was teaching the "hoodlums" that needed extra help in the summer/after school. Many a student were able to graduate from high school due to her ability to make learning fun and to make students learn and to feel supported in a non-teachy kind of way. She retired from teaching in 2021.
Kathleen was all about the theatrics of life. She was a deep thinker and had insights people sought out. Even if you didn't ask, she would tell you her opinion anyway. She was a great storyteller…(like her dad!) often stretching the truth for the theatrics of it. She passed that gift on to hundreds of students over the 25+ years she was the Forensics Coach in Necedah and Rib Lake. Her ability to connect with students made them want to excel, usually earning perfect 25 scores for the whole Forensics Team.
Kathleen was a fiercely independent woman, not marrying until she met and married her better half, Kreg White on New Years Eve, 2011. She loved going boating with Kreg and playing outside with that damn brown dog. She also loved mowing lawn. Just kidding—she hated those things. What she did love was going for rides with Kreg, road-tripping with her family, bloody mary's and snuggling with Bernice.
Kathleen hated going in the barn, picking rocks, milking cows…and would lie through her teeth to get out of work. She wasn't good at barn work anyway. Here is what she was good at and loved:
• Being the "Crazy Auntie" to all of her nieces and nephews. You could always count on her for a crazy story, Don King hair, or crazy ideas to get into trouble.
• Cleaning ma and dad's house when she came home from college.
• Putting Christmas lights everywhere. Year-round.
• Shopping on QVC-she always said she dressed for her "kids" (students).
• Her "kids"…she loved helping students feel better about themselves.
• Putting extensions in her hair. Sara will need 10 clients to make up for Kathleen's loss.
• Reading endless magazines and books and inspiring others to do the same.
• Teaching her family about history on road trips. What she didn't know, she made up.
• Calling her nieces and nephews to "come take a sleepover".
• The only person who could chug a pounder at Oxbow Saloon.
Kathleen was a member of the First Lutheran Church in Ogema. Visitation will be on Monday, December 12 from 4-7 pm at the First Lutheran Church in Ogema. Visitation will again be held on Tuesday, December 13th from 10-11 am with Service beginning at 11 am followed by her burial at Levitt Creek Cemetery in the Town of Hill and a meal at the Church.
Kathleen is survived by the love of her life, Kreg White, Tammy (Charles) Johnson, Bryan (Pam Kennedy), Mike (Jolene) Kennedy, Mary (Brian) Quante, Patty (Nick Lampone) Noland, and Billy (Rebecca) Kennedy. Pallbearers are Kathleen's nieces and nephews: Mike Dunlop, Matt Dunlop, Tim Dunlop, Mitch Delasky and Harley Delasky, Emily, Eliina and Hannah Quante, Katey Fowle, Elizabeth Noland and Jacob Noland and Kyla, Kaden and Kara Kennedy. Kathleen was preceded in death by her parents, Wallace and Audrey Kennedy, her grandparents Arvid and Elsie Arkola and her brother-in-law Tom Noland.
Kreg, Kathleen's brothers, sisters and her outlaws-in-law, nephews, nieces, neighbors, family and friends loved and will deeply miss her. Please remember the funny, bright, generous, over-confident, boisterous woman who is about to shake-up heaven forever far away from home. Your pain is gone, go rest in peace with grandpa, grandma, mom, dad and Tom and tell them hello from all of us.
Hemer-Pickerign Funeral & Cremation Services of Medford and Rib Lake is serving the family. Online condolences can be left at www.hemerfuneralservice.com.
For those of you interested, a scholarship in Kathleen's name will be established at a later date.