Community gather to remembers Kennedy

WILTON – Paul Kennedy loved Mardi Gras beads. He wore them everywhere.

He loved Wilton and was a part of every community event, eager to help, offering to do whatever he could, and he was grateful to be allowed to do it.

He died on Aug. 15, age 67, and on Saturday, Sept. 19, several dozen of his friends gathered at the Cathedral of the Pines in Rindge to remember him and celebrate his life. They all wore beads.

They were all there, all the organizations he was so much a part of, to remember and to tell their stories, with Patty Condon moderating.

Shari Skelly’s emotional eulogy was both funny and poignant, detailing Paul’s long involvement with the town. Her heartfelt sentiments were echoed by all the other speakers.

Sue Jean spoke for the Second Congregational Church, telling of coffee hours, his black coffee with “about six spoons of sugar.” He was a faithful attendee for years after being accepted into membership and every Sunday he had a list of people and events to be grateful for, people to pray for.

“We were happy to have him as a member,” Jean said.

Paul referred to the American Legion Post as “Home”. He was a member of the Sons of Veterans, proud of his father’s service, ready to tell anyone about it. Post Commander Bob Paro recalled Paul’s presence at their events. Keith Broadly represented the Sons.

Milford Area Special Needs was represented by Sally Long who spoke of their activities, the outings and picnics which Paul so thoroughly enjoyed.

Dick Putnam represented the Wilton Lions Club, and the Wilton community in general.

They all had special stories and recalled Paul’s friendly grin, his enthusiasm, his willingness to help, his desire to be a part of the community, to give back and never complain.

Lions Club Member Deb Degan recalled his help selling raffle tickets near Market Basket. “He knew everybody,” she said, “and they knew him. He sold more tickets than I ever did.”

But mostly there was Don Condon and the Wilton Old Home Days Committee. Paul had showed up during preparations offering to help and at the end of that year – Wilton celebrates every five years – Paul was a permanent member of the committee, enthusiastically helping on the annual golf tournament and all the other fundraisers.

“He was so proud of being a member,” Condon said. “We will miss him.”

Paul’s favorite song was “Ghostbusters” and the service closed with a rousing rendition in his memory.

Paul Kennedy Jr. was born June 23, 1953, a son of the late Paul and Mary Kennedy and grew up in Wilton, moving to Milford at the end of his life. He attended Helen Witty’s “Little Red Schoolhouse,” a precursor of today’s special education programs. He recalled Mrs. Witty with fondness, calling her a wonderful teacher. He graduated from Milford Area Senior High School.

He is survived by two cousins.

Those wishing to remember him may make donations to Community Hospice House or the Cathedral of the Pines.