Rev. Lester Washington Kennedy, Jr., 94, died Tuesday, November 17, 2020. He was pastor of Fairlawn Grace Brethren Church, Radford, Va., for more than 33 years. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lester W., Sr. and Wilhelmina Kennedy; and brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Gloria Kennedy.
Kennedy, who was born July 4, 1926, in Bassai, Central African Republic, came to the U.S. at age three. Attending school at Bob Jones University, Taylor University, and Grace Theological Seminary, he married Lois Hall in 1950 and was ordained to the ministry in 1951.
The Kennedys left for language study in France in August of 1952, and in 1953 went to the Central African Republic where they served as missionaries for six years. Three of their five children were born there.
Returning to the U.S., they pastored in Limestone, Tenn., for four years, and returned to Africa for an additional four-year ministry. Then Kennedy became pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Buena Vista, Va., where he served for 17 years. In 1985 the Kennedys began the work which is now the Fairlawn church in Radford.
In 2006, he was recognized by the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (now INSPIRE – Charis Pastors Network) with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Survivors include his wife of 70 years, Lois H. Kennedy; sons and daughters-in-law, Lester Kennedy III and Susie, Richard Kennedy and Jeni, and Danny Kennedy and Valarie; daughters and son-in-law, Judy Knick, and Joyce Yearout and Ron; 13 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and 1 great great granddaughter; and many other relatives and friends.
Services will be private in Sunrise Burial Park in Radford.
A celebration of his life will be held on his birthday July 4, 2021, at Fairlawn Grace Brethren Church.
The Kennedy family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford.