John M. “Mike” Kennedy, Jr. 75 of Williamstown died Saturday, May 13, 2023 at his home after a short illness surrounded by his loving family. Born February 17, 1948 in Kansas City, MO, he was the son of John and Dorothy (Fenton) Kennedy. Mike moved to Williamstown as a young child and attended Williamstown schools, graduating from Mt. Greylock Regional High School in 1966. He played football under Coach Allen, where he served as captain. Following high school Mike briefly attended Nichols College. Mike received his draft notice from “Uncle Sam” in 1968 proudly serving as a medic in the US Army, obtaining the rank of Sergeant, while stationed in Ft. Meade, MD.
Mike was a very active member of American Legion Post 152., where he served as Sergeant of Arms for Military Honor Guard, Historical Officer, as well as a past Commander. He was a familiar figure at the Williamstown Memorial Day services with his large sword and deep-toned voice shouting out the commands, as well as at many local military funerals with the Post 152 Military Honor Guard.
Mike loved to fish, spending many days in his younger years fishing at Lake Champlain and participating in the annual Spring and Fall fishing trips with his fishing buddies. He collected old fishing reels and tackle and sold them in several antique stores in New England. He had a great interest in military aircraft, owning a large display of model airplanes, many made by his good friend Curt Poirot. He was a self-educated military history buff who always had a book in hand to learn more.
Mike became a police officer in Williamstown in 1970, where he would serve the community for the next 30 years. He was appointed Police Chief in 1990, serving until his retirement in 2000. He was a member of the Massachusetts Police Assoc., Western Mass. Chiefs Assoc and the Williamstown Police Association. Upon retirement Mike immediately continued his service to Williamstown when he was appointed Veterans Service Officer, a position he did with great passion to address the needs of veterans. It was a service he continued to provide up until the end. He doggedly fought with the VA, fighting for the many veterans who were dealing with the after effects of Agent Orange. His service to Veterans spread far beyond the boundaries of Williamstown, as many people would reach out to him because of his reputation as a passionate advocate for veterans.
While large in stature, as he stood 6 foot, 8 inches, with a gruff persona, he was in actuality the exact opposite. He was extremely empathetic, very loving, generous beyond a fault, drew no boundaries with who he would befriend, and always put everyone before himself. He saw the best in everyone and did his best to help those who were struggling. If you were a friend of Mike’s, especially if you were one of the lucky ones that got anointed with one of his deprecating nicknames, you had a friend for life.
Mike, also enjoyed the past three years with his wife as a “snowbird” in Nettles Island in Jensen Beach, FL, where they made many wonderful new friends and he once again pulled out his fishing poles.
Mike is survived by his wife and best friend Mary (Courtney) who he married on November 12, 1994; two stepsons Damon J. George, CPO USN of Virginia Beach, VA and Seth C. George (fiance Ashley Tremblay) of Adams, MA; stepdaughter Courtney (George) Morgenthaler (Jack Morgenthaler, LT USN) of Kailua Beach, Hawaii. He also leaves his granddaughter Amanda Reid of Pittsfield, two grandsons; Jude George and Duke George of Virginia Beach, VA; three great granddaughters Savannah, Zoey and Maia; his brother William Kennedy (Linda) of Newburyport, MA and sister Karen (Ron) Brady of Glen Rock, NJ ; brother-in- law John (Deborah) Courtney of Pittsfield and his former son-in-law Steven Reid of CT. In addition, he leaves his stepmother, Naomi Kennedy of Jupiter, FL, two step-sisters Cyndi McDonald and Cathy Crosby and stepbrother Roger Cleworth, all of Florida.
Mike was predeceased by his parents, his in-laws, John D. and Lois Courtney, his daughter Bonnie J. Kennedy, and two granddaughters, Isla George and Jessica Reid.
FUNERAL NOTICE: A graveside service will be held on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 12:30 PM with full military & law enforcement honors in Eastlawn Cemetery in Williamstown. A Celebration of Life will immediately follow at Bloom Meadows, 2422 Hancock Rd, Hancock, MA from 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Memorial contributions may be made to Mount Greylock Regional High School which will be used to create an athletics fund to help supply athletic equipment to students in need. Mike requested this to honor one of his favorite people, his high school football coach and friend John Allen. Cards of condolences and memorial contributions may be mailed directly to Flynn and Dagnoli Funeral Home, 74 Marshall St., North Adams, MA 01247. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit flynndagnolifuneralhomes.com.