Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy

Obituary of Paul Branscum Kennedy

Paul Branscum Kennedy passed away on June 28, 2023, at the age of 97, in Mercer Island, WA.  Born in Berryville, Arkansas, he was the firstborn son of Alfred J. Kennedy, a watchmaker, and Mary Esther (Branscum) Kennedy, a schoolteacher.  Two brothers followed: Harold and Robert.  


Paul was a man of many interests.  His love for aviation began when he was 8 and never waned.  He built model airplanes and later joined the Civil Air Patrol.  He set up a darkroom after a middle school photography class, launching a hobby that he pursued for the rest of his life.  His early endeavors were varied and showed personal initiative.  Two different years at school he was awarded “Boy of the Year” by the American Legion.


In 1944, after high school, Paul served in the Army Air Corps.  After WWII ended he went on to pursue a degree in mechanical engineering from University of Minnesota.  In 1948 he met a surgical nurse named Dorothy Johnson on a blind date; she became the love of his life and they married in 1949.  After completing his degree in 1950 Paul was hired by Boeing and they relocated to Seattle from Minnesota.  As they approached the end of their cross-country journey and crested Snoqualmie Pass that first time, they were in awe of their new home state and excited for this new chapter of their life together.


The subsequent years fulfilled that vision:  4 daughters were born to Paul and Dorothy between 1951 and 1955. The summers were filled with camping or backpacking out in the wilds with his family.  He took them further afield, as well as traveling throughout the western US and Canada in their little trailer.    Paul put his gifts of planning to good use as he prepared meticulous itineraries for each trip.  Wherever they were, Paul shared his love of history, culture, music and art with his family.  Later, Paul and Dorothy enjoyed traveling around the eastern US, Turkey, China, and Europe (made easier by their 2-1/2-year move to Munich in 1979 where he was assigned by Boeing to a NATO project).  Paul's gift of photography was enjoyed in many ways.  Some of his photos were displayed within the retirement community where they lived  for 27 years and even used as subject matter on occasion by a local watercolor artist.  


Dorothy and Paul’s love for each other was rare and special—for 71 years they honored one another by putting each other's needs above their own.  They were affectionate and tender all the way through to the very last day of Dorothy’s life in 2020.   


Most importantly, Paul became a follower of Jesus Christ in the early 70s at the urging of his daughters.  He often spoke of how God’s hand had been on his life from the beginning—guiding, helping, saving, and bringing him and Dorothy together.  They were active members of Mercer Island Covenant Church (now Encounter Church) for over 4 decades.


Paul leaves behind daughters Janice (Tom) Christiansen, Judy (Paul) Hansen, Ann (Arnie) Aljets, and Sandy (Steve) Dymale, 10 grandchildren and spouses, 37 great-grandchildren and 2 great-great grandchildren.  They are rejoicing that he is now in the presence of his Lord and all of those who have gone on ahead of him, including his beloved Dorothy.

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