Ben’s story began Oct. 29, 1956, while his mom, Dorothy Mae Kennedy, watched Elvis, and his father Benjamin Owen Kennedy was home from a B&O Railroad run.
Born in New Castle, Penn., he spent his childhood playing neighborhood football and collecting pop bottles and returning them for deposit money. In junior high, he joined New Castle’s Red Hurricanes band as a drummer. He attended Laurence County Vo-tech, where he studied carpentry, and met the love of his life, Melanie Peterson.
In 1976 he married her; with a tent and two chairs they traveled to Federal Heights, Colo. This is where he joined the Federal Heights fire department, became an EMT and an engineer. They moved their children to Bailey, Colo., and the story continued.
Ben, a retired firefighter, foodie, became an accomplished traveler, NASCAR fan, professional Castaway Cay beach chair potato, best deal maker, and best dad to over 100 foster children. Part-time he serviced many schools, camps, ski areas, and restaurants with commercial chemicals and dishwasher repairs. In his travels, he was a Western Pennsylvania food coinsure of Bill’s Hot Dog Chili, Jameson’s Chocolate, Augustine’s Pizza, and New Model baked goods. He loved NASCAR races and attended many around the United States. With his 1980 Jeep CJ-5, he enjoyed push-starting midget and sprint cars at Colorado National Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway. He loved his 1970s Chevelle. His 2002 Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo was a show stopper and car show winner.
His years in fire service included Colorado State Chairman of the MDA Fill the Boot state telethon (he always was a ham for the camera). He organized 53 fire departments to participate in Fill the Boot to benefit MDA on their local street corners. He always put his wife, Melanie, in the Sparky dog suit.
He created a loving spirit and, well, semi-normal family. Loved ones that will miss him are his wife Melanie and his children, Benji, Sharon, Hoa, Amanda, James, Laurie, TJ, Angel, James, Monita, Seth, and Robin; sister Shirley Leishman; brother Jay Kennedy; sister Sharon Ross; his beautiful grandchildren, whom he loved dearly, Angel, Damien, Helana, Hendric, Tylor and soon arriving Grant Owen, and a new summer bundle of joy.
Loved ones who cleared the path for Ben are his father, Benjamin O. Kennedy, and mother Dorothy Mae Kennedy. So the story goes on until we see our dad, papa, English grandpa and honey again.
We love you and dearly miss you. We know god called you home early from here, but we knew you were needed in heaven.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to the Benjamin Owen Kennedy memorial fund at Bank of the West.