Featured, Obituaries

A Life of Purpose: Remembering Barnard Gene Kennedy

Barnard Gene Kennedy was born on January 3rd, 1936 in Bradshaw, West Virginia and was deceased on March 2, 2022.  He was 86 years old. 

He was the son of Jacob Edward Kennedy and Eva Payne Kennedy. Gene was a graduate of Iaeger High School where he was a member of the Honor Society, The Bookworms and the Drama Club.  
The summer after graduating high school, he attended Concord College for 12 weeks in Athens, West Virginia and then began his career in teaching at the age of 18.  He was assigned a one room school located on Estep Ridge, Paynesville, WV.  One or two of his students were only a couple of years younger than he.  He lived with his maternal grandparents while teaching here.

Gene was known on occasion to dismiss school, send the younger children home, and take the older boys to help a neighbor who had fallen ill tend to his crops in the field.  This attitude of compassion and kindness toward his fellow man continued throughout his life and endeared him to everyone he met. 
Gene appeared to have an inner compass that kept him focused on accomplishing his goals. He continued his career in teaching, attended summer school at Concord, took night classes during the winter and completed his under graduate work at Bluefield State College.  He drove to Radford College at night and completed a Master’s Degree in Education and Supervision.  He taught in a number of schools in McDowell County, was the principal of many and ended his career at Iaeger Elementary where he served as principal for many years.   

Gene was married to his sweetheart, the true love of his life, Clydia Johnson Kennedy. Together they had three children, Belvia Fuller (Tim) of Iaeger, Sherry Gaminde (Allen) of Clarksburg, WV, and Anthony Kennedy (Vicki) of Mooresville, NC.  He was a loving and devoted grandfather to four grandchildren, Bridgette Fuller, Jarred Gaminde, Erica Kennedy Morgan, and Brian Kennedy.  He was blessed with nine great grandchildren.

Gene was preceded in death by his dear wife, his parents, four brothers, Glaspy, Foster, Gerald, and Ervin Daniel and one sister named Eithel. He has two living sisters, Joyce Cooper of Catlett, VA and Sally Hogg of Fredericksburg, VA and two dear, life long friends, Earl and Alice Addair of Bland, VA.
His friends will remember that Gene liked to drive an old pickup truck, repair and restore old cars, and that he loved to make a good deal. He would buy an old horse collar when he didn’t own a horse just because the price was right. 

Those close to him know he could, with a booming voice, belt out a great gospel song, and he felt most comfortable in old, well-worn clothes.   He won every jitterbug contest he ever entered and he could flat foot better than most.   Some will know that Gene came from a family of avid hunters and much to the chagrin of his brothers he was the only one to ever kill a bear.  We will always remember how he enjoyed a clean joke and a good laugh.   

He was fair and just and measured the rich and the poor with the same yardstick. He lived his life with purpose and always tried to see the light shining within each individual.  This part of his character allowed him to make a significant difference in the lives of all the children who lived and grew up in McDowell County. 

Gene’s physical presence will be greatly missed in this world but he had a hope in Christ. He was a member of the Primitive Baptist Church. Gene believed in the goodness and love of God.  He believed that God’s word was made flesh in His Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was sent to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world.   He believed we would all meet again in a land where we would never grow old, where there would be no sorrow, no heartache, and no good-byes, and where the Lord’s Kingdom would reign forever and have no end. We give him up with saddened hearts.

 Funeral services will be conducted Monday, March 7, 2022 at 11 o’clock, with Elder Ezra Davis Jr. officiating at the Chapel of Fanning Funeral Home in Iaeger, WV.  Burial will follow in Roselawn Memorial Gardens, Princeton, WV.  Serving as pallbearers will be family and friends.

Friends may visit with the family Monday, morning March 7, 2022 from 10 o’clock until the time of service.

Services will be held in accordance with Covid guidelines, mask are to be worn by all attending and social distancing is to be practiced.

Fanning Funeral Home in Iaeger is assisting the family.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at wwwlfanningfuneralhomes.com