Cover photo for Dorothy Marie Kennedy's Obituary
Dorothy Marie Kennedy Profile Photo
1930 Dorothy 2018

Dorothy Marie Kennedy

January 24, 1930 — December 9, 2018

Dorothy Marie Franz Kennedy, 88 years young, marched triumphantly through heaven’s gates on December 9, 2018.  A memorial service and celebration of her life, immediately followed by a reception and visitation, will be at 2pm on Saturday December 15, 2018, at Wharton First United Methodist Church.   Dorothy was born on January 24, 1930.  She was the first born of Johnie and Lera (Fitzgerald) Franz and was proud to be the third baby born in Newgulf.  After graduating from Boling High School in 1947 she continued her education at Wharton Co. Jr. College and Durham Business College in Houston, then returned home to Newgulf to go to work for Texasgulf Sulphur Company. She wore many hats for TG over the years – working in the general office, accounts payable, the Credit Union and in the employee benefits dept.     One night at a local football game, Dot met the new sports journalist for the Wharton Journal Spectator, J Dell Kennedy – and knew immediately she had met her husband.  J Dell and Dorothy were married June 15 1951and settled in to life in Boling and Newgulf.  She always understood how fortunate she was to be able to grow up in Newgulf, then raise her own family in the same small town and she valued the life-long friendships she was lucky to have from being from such a small and close-knit community.   Dorothy was right in the middle of everything her kids were involved in – scouting, Methodist Youth Foundation, sports, cheerleading, band, you name it….  She was a devoted member of St Johns United Methodist Church in Newgulf until its closing in the early 80’s, at which time she and Dell moved their membership to Wharton First Methodist Church.  She served in many different capacities wherever needed.    Dorothy was a gifted wedding planner – countless brides in the community entrusted their special day to her creativity.  She was a member of the Wharton Philomathean Club, helping with many a style show over the years.  Dot was a talented singer and enjoyed performing with Big Band Orchestras in the local area and Houston.    After losing Dell in 1989 and retiring from TG, she left her beloved Newgulf and moved to Wharton.  Dorothy quickly became active in the Wharton Historical Society and Museum, served on the Board of Directors of the Texasgulf Fed Credit Union, helped organize the Sulphacrats and spent time gardening in her beautiful yard.  She was fiercely competitive when it came to Mahjongg, enjoyed bridge and was especially devoted to her grandkids and great-grandkids - rarely missing a game or school event.  She was a member of the Emmaus Community and loved making crosses to give new members on their spiritual retreat.    Dot split time between her home in Wharton and her Happy Place – Rockport.   Her family began vacationing in Rockport when she was a young girl, and she passed on her love of boating, fishing, floundering, crabbing and All Things Saltwater to her kids, grands and greats.  So many wonderful family memories took place there.   In 2016 Dot moved to Richmond to be closer to family, and quickly found a home at Clayton Oaks Senior Living.  Once again, she jumped right in and got busy – she helped create the Resident Council and served as Secretary; was a member of the Literary Guild as a cast member in the production of The Wizard of Oz and organized her fellow residents to volunteer with Faith United Methodist Church’s Threads of Hope.    2018 brought many health challenges, but Dorothy faced her 20 year battle with Parkinson’s and the complications involved with grace and dignity.     Dorothy was preceded in death by her husband of 38 years, J Dell, her parents Johnie and Lera Franz, a sister Nelda Watkins, son in law Roger Clark and brothers in law Lem Bullock and Charles Ray Kennedy.      Left to cherish her memory and continue her legacy are her children, Hal and Beth Kennedy of Rockport, Stephanie Clark of Richmond, Darlene and Kirk Wall of Brownwood, grandchildren Justin (Jennifer) Kennedy, Bo (Valarie) Kennedy, Zach (Stef) Clark, Zack Kennedy, Justin Thompson, Hannah Thompson, Jennifer (Brian) Williams, Marcia (Jake) Christian and her 10 great grand children whom she adored.  Dot is also survived by her brother Johnie (Nancy) Franz, and her sisters Doris (Bobby) Reed and Betty Bullock and many nieces, nephews and cousins whom she deeply loved.   We extend our deepest gratitude to the wonderful staff at Clayton Oaks Senior Living in Richmond for their loving care of mom for almost 3 years.   Thanks also to the amazing team at Altus Hospice who provided compassionate end of life care for our whole family.    Our mom leaves behind a legacy of faith and family. Dorothy Kennedy was a Doer of the Word and she taught all of us to be the same.  We learned from her example of the blessings to be received from serving God and loving His people.   “He who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25   Dorothy’s parents stressed to her, her siblings and her cousins, the importance of family.  The annual Rockport family vacation was epic in size, usually filling up all the rooms in an entire motel.  And because of her devotion to family, the bond grows stronger with each generation – a fitting legacy for a special woman.   For anyone desiring to make a donation to honor mom’s memory, the family suggests Clayton Oaks Living 21175 Southwest Frwy Richmond TX 77469  (281) 201-1038  and  Altus Hospice 11352 Sugar Park Ln Sugar Land TX 77478 (281) 493-9744
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Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

1717 Pioneer Avenue, Wharton, TX 77488

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