Home' Greymouth Star : January 6th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
Jack Kennedy was unparalleled in his
ability as a fine judge of character with a
perceptiveness that was always spot on.
He knew all the streets in Greymouth,
Blaketown, Cobden, Runanga, Rapahoe,
Karoro and Paroa, and Jack also knew
many people as well.
A man of few words, he could not
hide his sharp wit, his one-line quips
or his genuine interest in people, which
made him a loved father, family member,
colleague and friend. During moments of
quiet reflection he often said, ‘Least said,
soonest mended ’, a verse he lived his life
Anne Walker was employed in the office
at Kennedy’s Garage. Jack met Anne and
they were later married in Christchurch
in 1958. They purchased the family home
in High Street, where they spent the
remainder of their lives. The 100-year-old
villa has been adapted and renovated over
many years but stands strong and proud
with most of its original features and
charm. When asked by his father ‘why
do you want such a big house with six
bedrooms?’ Jack’s reply was ‘to fill it with
Over the years Jack and Anne both
worked for the taxi business. As the Grey
Taxis business contracted slowly over
time, the telephone base was operated
via their residential phone line and Anne
would operate ‘base’ (ad hoc) from their
home, particularly on weekends. Jack was
a hard working man, often ‘up with the
sparrows’, tackling the myriad of jobs in
the large family home, the bach at the
Twelve Mile or at his father’s home. He
would not sit still for long if there were
tasks to be done. There was certainly no
slackening off until his later years and
then only due to health reasons.
Jack was a true gentleman; patient, quiet
and very courteous.
Following Anne’s death in 2013, Jack
spent his final years in residential care at
Granger House, his hearing impairment
and restricted mobility impacted on his
ability to manage in the large family
home. He became a favourite resident to
many of the rest home staff.
Jack is sur vived and remembered fondly
by his six children Karen, Stephen,
Maree, John, Glenda and Therese and 12
grandchildren and his two sisters Patricia
(Pat) of Napier and Jill of Ikamatua. Jack
farewelled his late brother Neil (Nelson)
and his late sister Frances (Napier) in
John ‘Jack’ Maurice Kennedy died on
December 3 and was laid to rest on
December 7 at Gladstone Cemetery
following a Requiem Funeral Mass
held at St Patrick’s Church, with all his
sur viving children present.
6 - Friday, January 6, 2017
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1838 - Samuel Morse first publicly
demonstrates his telegraph, in Morristown,
1852 - Louis Braille, French
inventor of a system to enable blind
people to read, dies.
1882 - Richard Henry Dana, US
lawyer and author, dies; he wrote the
popular sea novel Two Years before
1919 - Theodore Roosevelt, 26th
US president (1901-1909), dies.
1930: NSW batsman Don Bradman scores a
record 452 not out in a Sheffield Shield match
against Queensland at the SCG.
1941 - US President Franklin D Roosevelt
defines American goal of “Four Freedoms”
— freedom of speech, freedom of worship,
freedom from want and freedom from fear.
1981 - Death of Scottish author A J Cronin,
author of The Keys of the Kingdom and
creator of the television series Dr Finlay ’s
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Joan of Arc, French leader and saint
(1412-1431); E L Doctorow, US author
(1931-2015); Harry M Miller,
Australian entrepreneur (1934-);
Murray Rose, Australian Olympic
champion swimmer (1939-2012);
Bonnie Franklin, US actress (1944-
); Anthony Minghella, British
film director (1954-2008); Rowan
Atkinson, British actor-comedian
(1955-); Nigella Lawson, British
celebrity cook (1960-); Eddie Redmayne,
British actor (1982-).
“There may be peace without joy, and joy
without peace, but the two combined make
happiness.” — John Buchan, 1st Baron
Tweedsmuir, Scottish author (1875-1940).
“Such is the confidence that we have through
Christ toward God.” — (2 Corinthians 3:4).
Dobson youth, Colin
Patterson was saved
from drowning on
Wednesday afternoon by two other Dobson
youngsters who were swimming nearby in
the Grey River. In a popular pool in the river
almost opposite the Dobson mine, Patterson
got out of his depth and was in great difficulty
when he called for help.
First in after him was 15-year-old Alistair
Cameron who supported the drowning youth,
but was getting into difficulties himself when
14-year-old Arthur Sands was able to pull the
“He would have drowned for sure,” said a
local resident, “and I think those two boys
deser ve a medal for the unhesitating way they
went to his assistance.”
A man was thrown from the car in which
he was travelling when it was struck by the
Hokitika-Greymouth railcar about 1.17pm
yesterday. The man, Walter Donnelly, 63, of
Nelson, and his wife Eileen, 53, were both
admitted to the Westland Hospital suffering
from injuries sustained in the accident.
The accident occurred on a level crossing at
Awatuna, about seven miles north of Hokitika.
There are no lights at the crossing but there is a
compulsory stop sign.
Both were treated at the scene of the accident
by two nurses who were travelling on the
railcar,and Dr Jean McLean of Hokitika also
While mowing lawns at his Taylor ville home
yesterday, 66-year-old Mr William Stephenson
Burns, a well-known Brunner resident and
retired mine worker, collapsed and died.
Mr Burns is sur vived by his wife Jessie,
sons William, Colin and Alan and daughter
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
Greymouth Evening Star Co Limited
3 Werita Street, PO Box 3, Greymouth
03 769 7900 (office)
769 7913 (editorial)
768 6205 (fax)
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
n the early morning of Saturday,
December 3, John ‘Jack’ Maurice
Kennedy passed away peacefully,
one month short of his 89th
Those who knew Jack would
vouch for his goodness, sense of humour,
humility and unique personality. He
was a, loyal husband and father, a good
billiards and snooker player and member
of the Greymouth Gentleman’s Club.
A self-starting handyman, and gracious
colleague, Jack was motivated and driven
by his commitment to his taxi business
which supported his family, his wife
Anne and six children who all attended
schools in Greymouth.
Jack was a well-respected gentleman
and a true friend to those he respected.
He descended from a long line of
entrepreneurs and transport operators on
the West Coast; the original Kennedy
Bros Ltd was established in 1872 by
Martin James Kennedy. It was a firm
renowned for its customer ser vice,
integrity and application — qualities well
recognised in the character of the late
The business provided the district with
a taxi, bus and workshop ser vice that was
highly visible on the Coast with its red
buses and black cabs.
John ‘Jack’ Maurice Kennedy was born
on January 6, 1928 into the West Coast
pioneering family. He was born the
fourth-generation member of the buses
and taxi-cab transport family and was the
first child born to Francis (Frank) and
Noeleen Kennedy (nee Culling). He was
the eldest of five children and the family
resided at William Street, Greymouth,
in the house that Frank, his father built.
Jack lived there until he married in
Jack’s father, Frank, who lived to 96
years, was a senior driver for Kennedy
Bros for 50 years and his son Jack or
‘Jackie’ as he was known (to differentiate
the generations of Kennedy boys named
John and Jack) was named after his
grandfather, John James Kennedy, who
was always called Jack as well.
The land at William and Guinness
streets was a Kennedy precinct in those
days ,with the family business nearby and
grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins
all living in the surrounding homes, with
a common access from a rear lane.
Grandparents John James and Mary
Elizabeth Teresa Kennedy (nee Sullivan,
originally from Stafford) lived in
Guinness Street, contiguous to Jack’s
William Street home, and were deeply
involved in the Catholic Church and in
their transport business.
Grandfather John James Kennedy was
one of the two business operators of
Kennedy Bros in partnership with his
brother Martin C Kennedy when they
operated Kennedy Bros Motor Garage
and Rink Stables at Hospital Street
(corner of Boundary Street), Greymouth,
after it passed from their father, the late
Martin James Kennedy, who died in
1904. Early advertisements indicate the
original business provided touring cars,
taxis, cabs, hansoms for hire and storage
for overland cars, the provision of tyres,
petrol and accessories, acted as coal
merchants and later expanded their fleet
to include buses and more taxis.
Jack’s grandmother Mary Elizabeth
Kennedy continued to be involved in the
family business after John James died
suddenly in 1939 aged 67. Mary lived
until 1955, aged 84.
Jack attended St Patrick’s Catholic
parish in the earlier days at Chapel Street
and later, after its relocation, opposite his
family home in High Street. He attended
Marist Brothers School, where he was
educated until Form 5 and finished
school in 1943.
He enjoyed boxing, rugby union and
league in his early days, and played for
the Marist Club.
During high school he worked
weekends cooking fish and chips at
Robbie’s Cafe in Boundary Street. After
he left school, Jack worked at Haines
Motors until 1947, when he left the
automotive trade to drive trucks for
Gibbs Transport based in Westport. He
worked for Gibbs for approximately 12
years during which time he completed
countless trips between Grey and
Westport carting cement and kegs of
During this time he was keen on
possum trapping and deer hunting and
spent time in the Karamea and Lewis
He was a local expert on the weather
forecast, often advising his passenger
tourists on their intended travels and the
impending weather. He also had on more
than one occasion to rescue his father,
Frank, and his uncle Jack from rising
floodwaters at 5 and 7 William Street.
In 1959 Jack started working for
Kennedy Bros Ltd in various forms
including driving school buses and taxi
cabs until the business ceased trading in
July 1967. His brother Neil also drove for
Kennedys. One of Jack’s regular bus runs
was the Kumara school bus run.
Transport became his life and after
years of driving for Kennedy Bros, Jack
continued in the taxi-cab business,
transitioning to Greymouth Taxis. His
black EH Holden had the call sign K5,
which previously belonged to his uncle
Marty. It was the shiniest, smartest cab
in the fleet and became call sign T15
when he joined Grey Taxis in 1967. Jack
continued driving until 1988, when he
retired, bringing to a close a Kennedy
family association with transport on the
Synonymous with transport in
Greymouth, the name Kennedy became
an ‘institution’ for this pioneering
family. The recurring historical link to
No 5 has passed through generations
of the transport line as a central focus
point, much like the district ’s Kennedy
transport functions and patronage:
Kennedy Bros. Taxi, dial 5155; Kennedy
Bros Garage, dial 255; Jack’s call sign for
Kennedy Bros, K5; and Jack’s call sign for
Grey Taxis, T15.
He was well known for his highly
polished cars, particularly when his cab
was ‘dressed ’ for wedding parties in all
its regalia, gleaming under coats of turtle
wax buffed through regular rubbings.
The Kennedy Bros Garage on the corner of Boundary and Guinness streets, with the fleet of taxis and buses lined up.
John James Kennedy, centre back row, with his six Kennedy boys and grandson Jack
( John Maurice) Kennedy, child in front of photo.
John ‘Jack ’ Maurice Kennedy
1928 — 2016
PICTURE: Kevin Caldwell
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