Geraldine (Geri) Isabelle Kennedy, 96, died May 15, 2020, of age-related causes at her Sitka home.
She was born to Nettie (Carrasco) and Paul Young Jones on Dec. 24, 1923, at their home in Wrangell. She was the fifth of seven siblings. Her siblings were Harold, Pauline, Irene, Ernestine (Babe), Frank and Maxine. Her mother, Nettie Jones, was involved in the 1929 federal lawsuit that allowed for mixed-race students to enroll at Ketchikan’s Main School.
Her primary school years were spent between various boarding schools in Southeast Alaska, always with a sibling or two. She graduated in Ketchikan in 1941, and then attended one year of school at Haskell Institute in Lawrence Kansas.
After World War II, she married William (Bill) Kennedy, also of Ketchikan, on June 15, 1946, at St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church on Woodland Avenue.
She worked retail jobs, child care for various friends and relatives, and at Fidalgo Cannery for many summers through the 1970s.
“She was not a member of any local clubs or organizations, but she did re-discover her Native culture in the early 1980s,” her family writes. “She learned every craft that offered a class; Northwest Coast basketry, carving, design (formline), engraving, weaving, and regalia-making. Her basketry skills were very appreciated by many, for many years.
“Liked and loved by just about anyone that she met throughout her life, she always had a smile to share, and was good with a surprise occasional one-liner when dealing with life’s challenges,” her family writes.
Mrs. Kennedy was preceded in death by all of her immediate family, parents and siblings; husband, William (d. 1995); and son; Billy (d. 1962).
She is survived by her daughters; Joanna (William) Hendricks of Ketchikan, Arlene Kennedy of Sitka, Susan (David) LaFray of Boise, Idaho; son, Rob (Ann Ludeman Kennedy) Kennedy of Port Orchard, Washington; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.