James Wesley Kennedy

James Wesley Kennedy, dedicated family man and well-loved teacher and youth sports coach, will be laid to rest next week. Visitation will be held Monday evening, May 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sparkman-Hillcrest Funeral Home. The service will be at 10 a.m. in the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Chapel on Tuesday, May 16, with interment afterward in the Garden of Roses.

“Jim” Kennedy, known to many simply as “Coach,” was born on April 30, 1931, in Sweetwater, Tennessee. He grew up in Knoxville and moved to Seagoville, Texas, as a high schooler. There he met his lifelong sweetheart, Monita Swaim Kennedy, who preceded him in death in May of 2000. Their four children survive him, JoAnna Kennedy Henry, Jill Kennedy Hall, James Lew Kennedy, and John Alan Kennedy. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, ten great-grandchildren, and two future great-grandchildren, expected in June.

After leaving the Yankees baseball organization, which drafted him out of high school, Coach Kennedy graduated from Southern Methodist University with a degree in Education. His career spanned 30+ years as the P.E. teacher at Bradfield Elementary in Highland Park. In addition, he oversaw day camp and sports activities with the YMCA and coached successful youth baseball teams with the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce. As a coach, he trained many fledgling athletes and mentored many new coaches in sports varying from track to football, especially baseball. His influence is still felt within the ranks of Major League Baseball today.

He was a fisherman and hunter and often took his family camping. “Uncle Bud,” as he was known among his extended family, knew the value of competition in a fun setting. He would organize games ranging from relay races to balloon battles to “pepper” lines. Jim and Monita both played competitive softball and spirited games of “42”. In addition, this loving father, uncle, and grandparent loved music – he sang in a sweet tenor voice – and wrote poetry for special occasions. Never without a joke, he also never met a stranger; for all who met him became instant friends.

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