Never before and never again will there be anyone quite like Jack Kennedy.
He was larger than life! Charismatic with a sense of humor that will remain unmatched, he was a long-time, extremely generous supporter of CURE and the children we serve.
Jack’s history is a fascinating one. He met and married his wife, Donna, while he was a national sales manager for a gift wholesaler. But over the years he also worked as a bartender, cabdriver, caddy, and a sports talk radio host – during which time he met a young pitcher named for the Atlanta Braves named Tom Glavine.
It was Glavine who would introduce Jack to the world of childhood cancer and the mission of CURE – a mission about which he became incredibly passionate.
The two worked together on many events for CURE, and after Glavine received the phone call from the Hall of Fame that he would be a first-ballot inductee, Jack decided to mark the occasion with some good-natured ribbing. He had six dozen customized golf balls inscribed with, “Tom Glavine 203 losses”.
“I knew him before he was good,” said Kennedy. “With all this talk about Tom having 305 wins and Greg Maddux having 355, nobody ever mentions that they also had 430 losses between them. So, I figured I’d have these made for Tom through a golf professional friend in Chicago. Nobody laughed harder about it than Tom Glavine.”
By this time, Jack had become a successful figure in the furniture industry. He proudly represented upholstered furniture lines to Havertys, and over two decades developed a strong business for them and adopted all of their employees as his second family. His compassion and passion ran deep in every facet of his life.
Jack was determined to end the suffering of children fighting cancer. He was truly committed to CURE Childhood Cancer, acting as Presenting Sponsor for many events, and as an ambassador for the cause wherever he went. As he fought his own battle with cancer, he said he could not bear the thought of children having to suffer from this horrific disease, and he fought up until his own death to improve theirs.
Jack passed away on January 3, 2017. To all of us and most others, his death was sudden and unexpected. Jack had been fighting cancer – bravely and silently. He didn’t want to be the focus of attention, so he kept his fight a secret. Through Jack’s Fund, we will honor the man we adored and continue his legacy of loving children with cancer by working to find cures. All funds raised will be directed toward life-saving pediatric cancer research reviewed by CURE’s Scientific Advisory Council and deemed to be likely to have clinical or therapeutic application within 5 years. We feel certain that Jack would want funds raised in his memory to advance research that will help children today. We proudly and humbly further Jack’s wishes through this fund named for him.
February 7, 1951 – January 3, 2017