Lalah Jane Kennedy, age 91, passed away peacefully Friday, August 19, 2022, in Claxton, Georgia. She was born December 1, 1930, in Reidsville, Georgia, to J. Clifford Kennedy, Sr., and Maude Smith Kennedy (both now deceased). She grew up in Reidsville but has lived in Claxton since her marriage to the late Senator Joe Kennedy. She was a graduate of Reidsville High School, and she attended Georgia State College for Women (GSCW) in Milledgeville. She was a graduate of the University of Georgia with a BS Degree in Education. After graduating from college, she taught briefly in Albany, Georgia, before marrying and moving to Claxton where she taught in the Evans County School System for a number of years.
She worked with her husband in his accounting business, and she was very active in his political career. She was also co-owner of J&K Sporting Goods in Claxton. Mrs. Kennedy was active in church, civic, and community activities. She was a member of Claxton First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School and served as President of the Fidelis Sunday School Class. She was also very active on the Church History Committee. A breast cancer survivor of 30+ years, she was very active in the work of the American Cancer Society, and she was former president of the local unit. She was selected the ACS “Outstanding Volunteer” for Evans County by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005. Later, when C.A.R.E.S., a local organization to fight cancer and support cancer survivors, was formed, she became an active volunteer and served on its Executive Board. She was inducted in the Gracious Ladies of Georgia in 1990.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by two brothers, J.C. Kennedy, Jr., and Rader Kennedy; and one sister, Eva Maude K. Smith.
She is survived by three children: Debra K. Lancaster (Johnny) of Hardeeville, South Carolina; and Cliff Kennedy (Yvonne) and Adam Kennedy, both of Claxton; her grandchildren, Jenny Lancaster of Angier, North Carolina, and Joseph Kennedy (Hannah Williams) of Jesup; her “special adopted daughter,” Pam Peace; sister and brother-in-law, Stan and Elaine Kennedy Bullington of Johns Creek; and her very special nieces and nephews.
The family wants to thank the staff of NorthSpring Senior Living, East Georgia Regional Medical Center, and Evans Memorial Hospital for the exceptional care provided.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 2 p.m. at Claxton First Baptist Church, with Dr. Carlton Allen presiding. Burial was in Brewton Cemetery.
Active pallbearers were Allen Hagan, Stevie Jones, Robert Nelson, Pharis Rogers, Francisco Saucedo, and Manuel Saucedo.
Honorary pallbearers were staff of NorthSpring Senior Living, Yarley Binuelo, Janet Davis, Hinton DeLoach, John Edwards, Brenda Galbreath, Milton Kennedy, Tommy McBride, Hub Rogers, Lisa Oliver, and Randall Tippins.
In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the Arts and Cultural Authority of Claxton and Evans County, P.O Box 1, Claxton, GA 30417, or to Evans County C.A.R.E.S., P.O. Box 186, Claxton, GA 30417. Mellie NeSmith Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.