Joel Kennedy

November 5, 1941 - October 23, 2023

Joel Kennedy, age 81, of Newark, DE, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Monday, October 23, 2023.

Born in Oak Grove, LA, on November 5, 1941, he was a son of the late Thomas and Ellen (Milking) Kennedy, Sr. Joel’s formal education was very limited, primarily due to the family obligation to farming. Farming land was a mandated family survival trade and created his strong work ethic. In his early twenties, however, Mr. Kennedy was led to travel wherever opportunity presented itself, which lead him to employment in heavy-duty construction. He worked and traveled throughout the country, and for the most part, successfully maintained various construction types of employment, including the title of supervisor.

Joel loved making people laugh and seemingly never met a stranger. All the ladies were typically addressed as “sweetheart,” “baby,” “love,” and so on. Joel had a way of making people take note of him. He needed you to see him and after acknowledging his presence, he was fully satisfied. Joel believed in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, and was a dedicated member of Pilgrim Baptist Church. In his spare time, he enjoyed deer hunting. Joel never forgot his homeland, Louisiana and the family he so loved. Delaware, however, won his heart as he returned and settled comfortably for many years with his wife, Jean.

As the song goes: “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

In addition to his parents, Joel was preceded in death by his daughter, Marcella Pope; and siblings, Thomas Kennedy, Jr., Wilbert Kennedy, Freddie Kennedy, and Travestine Holmes. He is survived by his loving wife, Jean L. (Hollis) Kennedy; children, Denise Newsome (Bennie), Delores Smith, Robert Kennedy (Sharon), Fabian Greene and Johnnie Greene; siblings, Eddie Kennedy, Charles Kennedy, and Carrie Mae Thomas; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Friday, October 27, 2023, at Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1325 Barksdale Road, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will begin at 11 am. Interment will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Joel’s memory to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or online by clicking here.


Psalm 139:16

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.


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9 Condolences for Joel Kennedy

  • Jean, my dear sister, you & Joel brought extra love & joy to your life … laughter flowed continuously as Joel would tell jokes…you two together demonstrated God’s love in marriage… peace, love, a wealth of memories will sustain you throughout this season & seasons to come… I love you and always am readily available should you need me…

  • Daddy you meant the world to me. I was your very first (child) twin daughter born…

    I will love you for the rest of my days. You will never be forgotten. Our family was blessed with your love, strength, dignity, integrity, and kindness. We will cherish your memory for life.

    For to live is Christ and to die is gain. According to Gods word, you are alright now; there is no more suffering, or disappointments, and no more pain. You did it Daddy, rest on now, until later.

  • May God comfort you and your family with his love my prayers 🙏 ❤️ are with you during this time Your friend Sis Arlene

  • My Dear Sister, I know our Lord has been with you all throughout this journey. May you have His peace in knowing His Holy Spirit is our Comforter. Love in Christ

  • My dear brother Joel, even though your life on earth has ended, your memories will remain in our hearts forever. You were the best brother-in-law one could ask for, from day one until the last day I talked to you, you called me Sis and you were my big brother who never changed
    … no matter what! I will always cherish our good relationship and memories of you and your beautiful wife…Much love and Prayers to you my dear sister Jean!!! R.I.L Brother Joel

  • Uncle Joel you were one of the funniest, loving, and caring uncles I’ve ever known. I always enjoyed your company when you visited us when I was just a little girl. You would always tell the funniest stories that would have us all laughing our heads off. I’m truly missing you, but I’m at peace knowing you are alright now. Our last conversation as well as all others were forever priceless although we didn’t talk long just hearing your voice made my day alright. You would always end the call with I love you and God loves you too. I will love you forever but God loved you more. Rest on in Heavenly Paradise until we meet again. Aunt Jean, I really appreciate you and give you the credit for all the conversations that Uncle Joel and I had during his last days. I’m forever Grateful and I love you and don’t ever forget it.

  • Aunt jean, my uncle was a beautifully spirited man whom loved and cared for everyone. I am very grateful for all the love and nurturing that you and he gave to me. i cherish those moments. He will always be in our hearts. Anything you need just ask. May the lord comfort you. I love you.

  • Daddy You were the love of my life I am the 2nd Twin born 🥰💓🥰 you gave me so much love I was so proud to have you as my dad and yes I was a daddy’s girl. Daddy I am going to miss calling you, singing to you, Praying with you and most of all hearing you say I love my children You Delores, Denise, Valerie, Robert & Bryan you would name each one of us. Daddy You really taught me to Pray when we would Pray 🙏🙏 on the Phone together. Who am I going to sing to now Daddy. I Love You and while you Walking Around Heaven Daddy please look down on me and I am going to always be looking up for you. Rest In Heaven Daddy And I Will Truly Miss You 😍 Your Daughter ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Lessie ( Delores )Kennedy Smith

  • Mommy Jean thank You so much for being a Great Wife and Friend 🥰💗 To Our Daddy. Thank You for keeping us posted on our Dad when he couldn’t call you made sure he heard us. Thank You For Loving 😚 💖 💖 💖 Us 😍 🎈 🥳 I will forever Love You 💗💞😘😘.
    Your Daughter Lessie Delores Kennedy Smith