Cover photo for John (Jack) L. Kennedy's Obituary
John (Jack) L. Kennedy Profile Photo
1938 Jack 2023

John (Jack) L. Kennedy

May 1, 1938 — November 8, 2023

On November 8th, 2023, John (Jack) Lloyd Kennedy passed away surrounded by his family. He was 85. Described by many as a force of nature, Jack was passionate, witty and a life-long learner. He led by example and what a wonderful gift he gave to all that knew him, as he approached every project, every sport, every conversation and every email with vigor and enthusiasm. He frequently told his friends and family to "whistle your own tune through your own beak," which was the cornerstone of his approach to life.


Born in Butte, Montana on May 1st, 1938, his family moved to Albuquerque in 1943 and aside from his education, he never left. He met the love of his life, Susan Seligman Kennedy, at Highland High School in 1955 and they were married for 63 years. They were "simpatico," as they say, and he recently told his children that "she has never looked more beautiful than she is right now."


Jack often said, "you never get ahead in life on your own." After seeing him play tennis in a public park, someone anonymously gifted him a membership to the Tennis Club of Albuquerque, which changed the course of his life. Jack was the NM state high school champion and went on to UNM where he was the Lobo's first men's tennis All-American, earning the honor in 1958. Last year, the Lobo Tennis program officially recognized Jack for his life-long dedication to the program as a player and supporter by naming the season-opening home tournament "The Jack Kennedy Classic." He was previously inducted into the USTA Southwest Hall of Fame and the UNM Athletic Hall of Honor.


At UNM, Jack was also president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon where he made lifelong friends. After graduating from UNM, Jack attended Baylor Dental School where he graduated number one in his class. After a brief stint in the Air Force and a MASH unit, Jack returned to Albuquerque where he practiced dentistry for 33 years, treating his patients like family.


Some might say you slow down after retirement, but not Jack and Susan. They spent winters in Palm Desert where Jack ran a winter tennis program for retirees, and summers in France where they both became fluent in French. Jack said "by living other places during the year, enjoying another culture in France, it has made our love of New Mexico, Albuquerque and UNM ever stronger with each passing year." An avid reader, Jack continued to learn and engage with his large community of friends on the difficult issues of our time, challenging his friends into deeper inquiry on important matters.


Susan and Jack had three amazing children (if we do say so ourselves) John (Shara), Kurt (Megan) and Heather (Dan), six incredible and loving grandchildren, John (Brittany), Leeanne Carr (Dylan), Nathan, Kyle, Leah, Declan, and one spirited great-grandchild, Imber, who brought him great joy. He is also survived by his sister Marsha Dinehart and many nieces and nephews. Jack often said, of all his achievements, he is most proud of his family.


A Celebration of Life for Jack will be announced at a later date. To celebrate the life of Jack Kennedy, the family requests that in lieu of flowers and casseroles, donations are made to the Jack Kennedy UNM Tennis Endowment. This endowment was created in his memory and will continue to support the men's tennis program at UNM where he has left such an impact. Memorial contributions to the endowment can be mailed to the UNM Foundation at Two Woodward Center, 700 Lomas Blvd. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102. Checks can be made out to the UNM Foundation and include Jack Kennedy UNM Tennis Endowment in the memo line. Please sign our online guestbook at 


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