SCVNews.com | Jami Kennedy, Longtime SCV Volunteer, Dies at 74

Jamie Kennedy, the 1989 Santa Clarita Valley Woman of the Year, died at Henry Mayo Hospital in Valencia on July 4 after a long illness. He was a longtime resident of the Santa Clarita Valley, moving to SCV at the age of 7.

As a child, Kennedy was one of three elementary school representatives to break ground at Sierra Vista Junior High, SCV’s first junior high school. There were only three primary schools in SCV at that time.

After living in the San Fernando Valley and Bishop for four years, Kennedy returned home to SCV, where she and her husband, Bob, operated a plumbing contracting business for 15 years.

The SCV Boys and Girls Club Auction was Kennedy’s first volunteer initiative.

“Jami collected more auction items over the years than anyone I’ve ever known,” said Jim Ventress, former general manager of the SCV Boys & Girls Club. “He headed various sub-committees of the auction. He was the SCV Boys & Girls Clubs Volunteer of the Year in 1984. He also won the Sam Dixon Award in 1987.

Ventress said the Sam Dixon Award is the SCV Boys & Girls Club’s highest honor, usually reserved for companies or other large institutions.

“It’s rare that an individual wins the Sam Dixon Award,” Ventress said. “It shows what he meant to the club.”

Kennedy has volunteered for the club for over 30 years.

“There are certain people you meet in your life and the words ‘caring soul’ are reserved for people who go the extra mile,” Ventress said. “He was that ‘caring soul 2.0.’ It was Jamie Kennedy.”

Kennedy was a member and past president of the Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley and a member of the SCV Crisis Community Hotline, serving as treasurer and working at the annual Rent-A-Santa fundraiser, which later became a fundraiser for the Zonta Club. when the Hotline was closed.

SCV member Gloria Mercado-Fortin of the Zonta Club remembered Kennedy as a “great sweetheart.”

“He had a big heart and anything he could do, he would do,” Mercado-Fortin said. “He would volunteer for anything. He was a very giving person. He was a mentor to me and to many of us. He was at the forefront as a community leader and volunteer.”

Barbara Cochran said Kennedy introduced her to the Zonta Club.

“Jami took me to a Zonta meeting and I was immediately blown away by what they did. They volunteered for all kinds of good things,” Cochran said. “She was one of the kindest women I’ve ever known. He will give you his heart and soul if you need it. He was involved in many SCV organizations.”

Cochran said he has worked closely with Kennedy for nearly three decades on volunteer activities to benefit the SCV Boys & Girls Club auction and clubhouse.

Kennedy also volunteered at the American Heart Association’s Celebrity Waiters Dinner, which later became a fundraiser for the SCV Senior Center. She worked on the annual fundraiser for the Red Cross and also worked around the Save-A-Life Sundays, recruiting blood donors.

Kennedy’s many other volunteer efforts to serve others included:

Carousel Ranch board member serving as secretary.

Monopoly Mania fundraiser for school and business alliance.

Board member of the Gibbon Conservation Center.

Project Town Angels, which brought a family with two young children to SCV after they survived Hurricane Rita. The Angels raised money so the family could live in a fully furnished apartment with a year’s rent. Also included were clothes, food, utilities, furniture, linens, toys for the kids, a job for the husband, ESL classes for the husband, then civics classes, high school diplomas for the wife, then nursing school.

Santa Clarita Mayor Lorraine Veste, a longtime friend of Kennedy’s, said she cherished the memory of Kennedy having a friend in her life.

“He was a good soul. I loved him very much,” Veste said. “He was one of those people, if you knew him for five minutes, you knew him forever. He was loving and caring and had a great sense of humor. She was a good friend and will be missed by many.”

West said Kennedy was known for his love of exotic birds.

“He saved the birds, I’d say he had about a million parrots. He had all kinds of exotic birds,” Veste said.

After being nominated for Woman of the Year in 1989, Kennedy said she was “in awe” of the honor.

“I knew many of the men and women of the year who came before me. I admired them for what they did. This elite group represented hope for the future in our community. By giving of themselves, they have truly made a difference in so many lives. The core of volunteers in this community will hopefully continue to grow so the needs of our neighbors will always be met,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy was preceded in death by her husband, Bob. She is survived by her daughter, Denise (John) Rubenstein, and grandchildren, Connor and Kira.

Memorial services are pending.

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SCVNews.com | Jami Kennedy, Longtime SCV Volunteer, Dies at 74
Source link SCVNews.com | Jami Kennedy, Longtime SCV Volunteer, Dies at 74

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