Cover photo for Lt. Col (Ret.) Joseph K. Kennedy's Obituary
1950 Lt. Col (Ret.) Joseph K. Kennedy 2023

Lt. Col (Ret.) Joseph K. Kennedy

November 27, 1950 — September 20, 2023


Lt. Col. (Ret.) Joseph K. Kennedy, 72, passed away peacefully on 20 SEP 23 after a courageous fight against both Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.  

He grew up in the small steel mill town of Monongahela, PA in Western Pennsylvania. After graduating high school, he began work in the steel mills and married his high school sweetheart Carlyn Fitzpatrick on 27 MAY 1972. Joe and Carlyn then began an incredible journey forging lifelong memories across the country through 51+ years of marriage. They raised two children, Kristen, and Joe, who currently serve as teachers and a coach in the Texas public school systems.

After a few years working in the steel mills post-high school, he attended California University (PA) and earned a degree in Political Science in 1973.  Upon graduation from college, he joined the United States Air Force with ambitions to become a pilot. After graduating Officer Training School (OTS) shortly thereafter, he entered pilot training and earned his wings to fly the Air Force’s B-52 bomber. Lt. Col. Kennedy served his country for over 20 years across the country stationed at seven different Air Force bases and flew missions on four of seven continents. His responsibilities as an Air Force Officer included bomber pilot, navigator, Air War College instructor, weapons and inspection staff evaluator, as well as numerous staff and executive officer positions. He served his country during the Cold War and first Gulf War. After retiring from the US Air Force in 1994, Joe continued flying for Fed-EX until 2014, marking a second 20-year stint as a pilot. An avid golfer, animal lover, and Corvette enthusiast, Joe possessed an unmatched zest for life and a personality often described as “bigger than life.” His mentorship and fatherly wisdom spread beyond familial ties through his son’s service in the US Air Force.  Joe often counseled these young AF officers as they sought military career, leadership, and even family advice.

On 29 DEC 2005, Joe began his third and final “career” when he became a grandfather to twin boys Fitz and Dylan. He would often say “If I knew having grandchildren was this much fun, I would have had them first!” His new lease on life was furthered with the birth of his third grandson Cole in 2009. As much as he loved to fly and golf, nothing brought him more joy than spending quality time with his grandsons.

From humble beginnings to firmly planted Texas roots, Joseph K. Kennedy lived a full life. He embodied the American spirit and held no regrets. He loved his wife. He loved his family. He loved and served his country. Few people will live this life. Known for his clever yet simple quotes, he often said “If it was easy, anyone could do it.” The life he lived and the way he loved was not easy. But he did. And he lived.

Joseph was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph L. Kennedy and Wilhelmenia (Barefoot) Kennedy; and brother, Keith D. Kennedy.

Survivors: Loving wife, Carlyn Kennedy; daughter, Kristen L. Kennedy; son, Joseph R. Kennedy; daughter-in-law, Heather S. (Johnson) Kennedy; and grandsons, Joseph F., Dylan T., and Cole D. Kennedy.

Visitation: 3-6:00 p.m., Saturday, September 23, 2023 at Winscott Road Funeral Home. Interment: 11:30 a.m., Monday, October 9, 2023 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, Dallas, with full military honors.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Wounded Warriors or Alzheimer’s Disease Research.

To order memorial trees in memory of Lt. Col (Ret.) Joseph K. Kennedy, please visit our tree store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 23, 2023

3:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Winscott Road Funeral Home & Cremation Services

1001 Winscott Rd, Benbrook, TX 76126

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Monday, October 9, 2023

Starts at 11:30 am (Central time)

Dallas - Fort Worth National Cemetery

2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75211

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