Jay Kennedy


2003 Reunion


Veritas Obituary: Submitted by AKR: posted 19 Feb 05

Class of 57 – 3960 Major James Coleman Kennedy

Jay was born and raised in London, Ontario.  In 1953 he went west to Royal Roads and then back to RMC to study Civil Engineering, graduating in 1957.  He obtained a BASc degree at U of T, before joining the 4th Regiment RCHA in Petawawa.  Jay was soon selected to attend a year-long guided weapons course at the US Army Air Defence Artillery School in Fort Bliss, Texas.  His friendly and helpful nature was like a breath of fresh air to other students on the challenging course.  Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 1st GM Battalion where he spent two years training US and NATO troops on the Nike Hercules Missile system.  Next came the 1965-66 course at the Army Staff College in Kingston where he was certainly the most knowledgeable person on air defence matters!

After graduation, he went to Gagetown, to command E Battery, 2 RCHA, which had to be rebuilt after rotating back from Europe, a major challenge.  The rebuilding was delayed by the requirement to provide a saluting troop in Montreal during Expo 67 and then delayed again when E Battery was ordered to Labrador to fight forest fires.  Jay had a frightening experience, as described by his CO.  One day, while Jay was working with his troops, the wind changed and the fire started to move towards them.  The men gathered in a small muskeg clearing and a helicopter was called in to lift them to safety.  After several trips and with the aircraft fully loaded, only Jay remained on the ground.  The pilot said that he would return in 15 minutes.  With hot ash already falling on the clearing, Jay suggested that 15 minutes might be too late.  The pilot glanced at the approaching flames, agreed, and told Jay to get in and lie on the floor.  He did and the helicopter lurched into the air as the muskeg started to smoulder.  In the best military tradition, Jay had looked after his men before seeking safety for himself.

After a short stint at Mobile Command HQ in St-Hubert, he spent a year as a United Nations Military Observer on the India-Pakistan border.  In 1977, Jay became a Liaison Officer with accreditation to the US Army Armament Readiness Command at Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois and to the US Army Armament Research and Development Command at Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey.  He was highly respected by his American hosts, although some of his neighbours habitually stole Jay’s Canadian flag whenever he flew it on the lawn in front of his quarters.

Jay returned to Montreal in 1980, but was soon off again, this time to the Golan Heights in the Middle East for six months.  By 1983 he was in Central Army Group, HQ in Heidelberg, Germany, providing liaison with the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group and participating in the umpire organization that controlled major exercises.

In 1986 Jay was posted as Regional Operations Staff Officer in Halifax, with responsibility for the four Atlantic provinces.  His duties included: Aid of the Civil Power and Assistance to Civilian Authorities; the provision of support to Other Government Departments; the Continuity of Government Program; Provincial Warning Centres; Vital Point protection; floods; fires; lost children; and the boatloads of people who arrived illegally on Canadian shores, always without warning.  Jay was a very proficient staff officer.  No incident upset him, no matter how unusual.  In addition, and on a voluntary basis, he helped to make the Nova Scotia International Tattoo a world class production.  His final posting was to Ottawa shortly before retiring in 1989.

While in Nova Scotia, Jay married Cindy Allan, also an officer in the Canadian Forces.  His two children, Liane and Travis, were from a previous marriage.  Once in Ottawa, Jay turned his attention to the RMC Club, becoming very active in the Ottawa Branch.  He was also a staunch supporter of the Class of 57.  A highlight of this portion of his life was his participation in the RMC Club Foundation’s canoe fund raising expedition through the Rideau Lakes from Ottawa to Kingston in September 2001.  Another of his passions was walking and he became a member of a hiking club logging several thousand kilometres over the years.

The illness which led to his death came as a shock to all who had seen him in robust health as he entered the Old Brigade in September 2003.  In November he fell sick and died a few months later on 13 May 2004.  Jay will be remembered as a fine officer and a “gentle” man who played a major role in his Regiment where he maintained a loyal, humorous and good-natured perspective that was his trademark.  He touched lives in many ways: as a friend, a colleague, a leader, and a mentor.  Jay was an exceptionally caring individual with a fine sense of humour who gave freely of his time and inspired others by his example.  His departure leaves feelings of great sadness and loss.

Written by 4252 Howard Wheatley and 3918 Al Roberts with the assistance of Major Cindy Allan

AKR: 26 June 04

The Memorial Service last Saturday (19 June) in Ottawa for Jay was overflowing with in excess of 130 persons in attendance.  Present from the Class of 57 were:  Denny Boyle, Jack Cadieux (Ruth Watson), Bill Campbell (Muriel), Art Clare (Nancy), Don Coulter, Georges Desbarats, Jeep Fortier (Jean), Don Goodwin (Sophy Ann), Don Gregory (Mary Rose Gagné), Ed Healey, Frank Hlohovsky (Joan), George Logan, Bill Lynn (Marg), George McClure, John Plant (Kay), Al Roberts, Jerry Valihora (Judy), Mike Valiquet, Roger Wainwright and Dean Wellsman (Joan).
In addition to the members of our class, there were many other ex-cadets present, both younger and older.  Jay was well known in the Ottawa Branch as he served for many years on the Executive. 
There were three eulogies:  (1) Al Roberts speaking about Jay's relation with the College, Club and Class of 57;  (2) Howie Wheatley (Class of 58 and MGen from the Artillery, Jay's corps) speaking about Jay's military career;  and Cindy speaking about Jay.


(Sent by Mary Rose Gagne)

Frank Hlohovsky: 26 May 04

I wish I had sent this message yesterday so that you could have included it in your update of our web page.

I spoke to Cindy yesterday, expressed sympathy and again offered any assistance that any member of the Class or Branch could provide. She advised that others have made similar offers and advised that she will
not hesitate to call if she does need help. Chores, such as mowing the lawn, are being done by neighbors.

She mentioned that she has her down times but then realizes that she must carry on, notwithstanding  the circumstances, and then goes forward with renewed strength. As Denny Boyle mentioned in his reports, she is a woman with amazing emotional strength.

She had one request. Her preference is for donations to the RMC Foundation, but should anyone desire to send flowers for the Memorial Service, the flowers should be scarlet and white.

Denis Boyle: 17 May 04

The following notice appeared in today's Ottawa Citizen:

KENNEDY, James Coleman "Jay" Major (Retired) RMC Class of 1957 (#3960), PEng (Civil), BSci (Mil), MBA, CD Peacefully at the Elisabeth Bruyere Centre on Thursday May 13, 2004 at the age of 70. "Best beloved" of his wife Major Cynthia Louise Allan. Loving father of Liane of San Jose, California, and Travis of Ste-Julie, QC. Grandfather to baby Thomas Durand Kennedy. Survived by his sister Mary Jane (Art Tanton) of London, ON and brothers, Richard (Nancy) of Windsor, ON and Robert (Wendy) of Bridgewater, NS, and by several nieces and nephews. Friends may call at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Road (between Bayshore and Baseline Road) on Saturday June 19, 2004 from 10:00 a.m. until the Memorial Service in the chapel at 11:00 a.m. In memoriam, a donation to the RMC Club Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 17000 Station Forces, Kingston, ON, K7K 7B4 would be appreciated. Condolences, donations or
memories may be made at www.tubmanfuneralhomes.com

Jerald Fryer: 17 May 04

I have spoken to Cindy Allan this morning and thought that I would take a minute to provide with a short update on the plans for a Memorial Service for Jay Kennedy.

Jay's obituary is in the Ottawa Citizen today, the next two days, and will be repeated the week before the Memorial Service.

As you may know by now the family has requested that an autopsy be performed after which Jay's body will be cremated.  There will be no funeral service per se, but there will be a Memorial Service on Saturday June 19th at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Home in Bell's Corners (3440 Richmond Rd).  There will a visitation with family and friends from 10:00 to 11:00 and the service will begin at 11:00.  The delay in having the Memorial Service is due to the fact the person who Jay wanted deliver the eulogy is unavailable before that time.

Cindy does not wish to have a Military Funeral for Jay, but she knows that Jay wanted to have a strong RMC aspect to his funeral, thus as I discussed with Dennis Boyle earlier she agrees that RMC Blazers, and medals would be most appropriate attire for ex-cadets attending the Memorial Service.
I will provide future updates if there are any new developments or changes.


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