Posted by Jordan Grantham
on 4 August 2020
Vale John Kennedy
Jeff Kennett, a former Premier of Victoria, and now President of the Hawthorn football Club, paid a fitting tribute to John Kennedy,Snr. See here
John was a long time and close member of the Lasallian Family. See below .
Kennedy clan scores over 150 Lasallian years
By John McLaurin
TO this day, faith, family and football reign supreme for the famous Kennedy family of Melbourne.
Their enormous contribution to Australian Rules Football is well-documented but equally worth highlighting is the family's long-time involvement with the De La Salle community.
Indeed their ongoing connection with De La Salle College in Malvern in Melbourne's inner south west stretches back further than their football exploits.
There was great cause for celebration in the Kennedy family at the most recent Christmas-New Year period because in addition to the season's festivities, John Kennedy Snr, a true legend of the game and proud De La Salle Old Boy, quietly celebrated his 90th birthday.
This year John Snr and John Jnr have clocked up a total of 150 years, while the De La Salle Brothers celebrate 300 years since St John Baptist de La Salle's life.
It came ten years after Hawthorn Football Club presented him with a life-size statue of himself at the club's Waverley based headquarters.
John Snr and John Jnr are both proud alumni of De La Salle which also had a large impact on Leo Kennedy, John Snr's brother.
Leo Kennedy stayed on with the De La Salle community following his high school years and served as a professed religious with the Brothers for 69 years, taking the name Br Ignatius.
It was a tough year for the family when both Br Ignatius and Dulcie Kennedy passed away in the early months of 2017. Mrs Kennedy was the beloved wife of John Snr, a treasured mother, Nonna and Bisnonna (Great-Grandmother).
John Jnr says both he and his father enjoyed their time at De La Salle. Junior in particularly says he continues to have a strong connection with his classmates as well as his Hawthorn teammates.
Next in line is Josh Kennedy, son of John Jnr. Josh is the third straight generation to have played for Hawthorn after debuting in 2008. A very good footballer in his own right, he too was also home for Christmas, having made good in Sydney, soaring to the heights as Captain of the Swans.
Hawthorn flowed in Josh's veins, so the trade to the Sydney Swans in 2011, seeking more opportunities to be on the field, was a difficult decision. The move more than paid off for him as he developed and flourished as a player. The very next year he played well for the Swans in their 2012 Grand Final victory against his old club Hawthorn.
No doubt throughout his career at times he would've called on the wisdom and leadership example of his father and his grandfather and going forward he will look to do the same with his own son, Emilio.
John Jnr recalls some of Josh's early days in Sydney spending time with Br Ignatius (Leo) Kennedy in Cronulla.
"Josh knew Uncle Leo well, as did Ana his wife and they visited him in Cronulla where he retired to. They also had him over for dinner a couple of times," John said.
In general, the Swans are known for their discipline on and off the field. It makes perfect sense then as to why Josh has fitted in so well with the Swans.
Discipline, integrity and strength of character are defining values which the club prides itself on and these values seem to fit in well with the Kennedy family modus operandi. There is little doubt much of this discipline can be attributed to John Kennedy senior and his foundational years at De La Salle College, Malvern.
Ever-devoted as a family man, one marvels at John Snr's discipline and how he ever managed to juggle his numerous vocations as committed husband, father, teacher and principal.
At the same time, he could be found busy laying firm foundations for Hawthorn Football Club and its prolonged success over many decades.
This strength of character seems to have successfully passed down through the generations.
Last year, Josh became an ambassador for The Men's Project, a Jesuit Social Services initiative calling for strong male leadership and role models. Here Josh's Ignatian influence shines through as an Old Boy of Xavier College, Melbourne, long time rivals of De La Salle, Malvern.
"Many of his friends play for the old arch enemy old Xavierians where I find myself delicately treading the political neutral path," John Jnr said.
In footballing circles John Kennedy Snr is affectionately known as 'Kanga'. Playing and coaching at Hawthorn he replaced another man of deep faith, the team's ruckman Frank Prowse, whose son Christopher is currently the Archbishop of Canberra and Goulburn.
Good judges say as a coach, and father for that matter, that he was hard but scrupulously fair in his dealings with his players. His booming voice and motivational work is legendary and is a footballing favourite on YouTube.
He is almost singlehandedly credited with turning the Hawks around from being the easy beats into the envy of the competition. On the field his team earned the title of 'Kennedy's Commandos', while off the field Hawthorn became known as 'The family club'.
Kennedy Snr is undoubtedly one of the great orators of Australian sport. Perhaps his ability to communicate well was born out of his love of imparting knowledge as a teacher? Or maybe he developed the necessary skills whilst studying at De La Salle, Malvern. Either way it's a belated happy 90th birthday to John Kennedy Snr from all in the De La Salle Community.