On Friday, June 8th we will be taking our precious Nanny home to New Orleans to be reunited with family at her final resting place in St. Patrick Cemetery on City Park Avenue. The story of her life is a true inspiration. Her selflessness and love for helping others lives on through the Jazz Crawl, and her name and her story will be honored with future philanthropic efforts of the NOLA Kid at Heart Foundation.
Katherine Elizabeth Kennedy, age 84, fortified with the Sacrament of Holy Mother Church, passed away peacefully on December 11th, 2017. Loving and devoted daughter of the late Mary Ellen and Patrick Bernard Kennedy, dear niece of the late Catherine Lynch-Harrington and Joseph Patrick Harrington Sr., dear sister to the late Margaret “Sissy” Harrington-Reynolds and Joseph Harrington Jr., loving aunt of Libby Reynolds-Tringale, Tom Reynolds, the late Patty Brown-Reynolds, and Saddie Cantrell, and adored as ‘Nanny’ by many, most notably Sarah, Ricky, and Jaden Tringale and Matt, Alisa, Jake, and Lyla Jackson.
Katherine was born in Mobile, AL, but resided in New Orleans for 70 years until Hurricane Katrina took her home in 2005. After the storm, she happily lived the rest of her life surrounded by ‘her babies’ in Tennessee and Alabama.
At a young age, Katherine endured much adversity through family tragedies. She lost her father at the age of 3 and her mother at the age of 16. Through these hardships, she developed a fierce love and commitment to her family and close friends. She lived for being there and supporting those she cared about, and the many life-long friendships she forged redefines the meaning of ‘extended family’. She had the same best friend, Lettie Ward, from the age of 5 until Lettie’s passing in 2009. Other members of her loving extended family were the late Earl Retief Sr. and his wife Nettie, their children Earl, Cheryl Resignola and Stan and their husbands and wives Ann, Frank and Sherry and their children Jessica, Matthew, Bender and Cameron. She was also known lovingly as “Aunt Kate” to Rachel and Emily Gross.
She was a selfless woman that always put the needs of others over her own. She never married or had children, but helped raise her niece and nephew when their mother was taken by cancer at a young age. She was a proud servant to her city and a hard-worker her entire life.
She worked for the City of New Orleans, Chrysler Corporation, the New Orleans Public School Board, and retired after 22 years of employment from Shell Oil Co. Her work ethic and need to help out continued until the day she died, as there was no way you could get her out of the family kitchen or laundry room if dishes needed to be cleaned or clothes needed to be washed.
She was in good health until a fall left her immobile in late November of 2017. Her passing a few weeks later was unexpected, but sparing her family the burden of a long recovery from her injuries is fitting to her character. She was always there to care for the sick and support the needy in her life, but she never expected or wanted anything in return.
Katherine loved reading, playing games, and getting to know people. She was so warm hearted and sincere that a conversation with ‘Nanny’ for the first time would leave people feeling as if they had just gained a new grandmother. Her loving presence and adorable personality will be deeply missed by many, but her memory and the story of the selfless way she lived her life will never be forgotten.