Ronald Daniel Kennedy died peacefully Tuesday, February 4th at his home surrounded by his wife, his three children, their spouses and his five grandchildren. He was 83 years old. “Ron” was born July 13, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan to H. Daniel and Charlotte Zavitz Kennedy. Ron was a 1954 graduate of Elyria High School in Elyria, Ohio … served 3 years in the U.S. Army … and then secured his degree in Business Administration.
As a young man in the military Ron met a girl at a jukebox one night who said “I don’t talk to strangers.” On leave a year later, he saw that same girl at the same jukebox. No longer a stranger he married her three weeks after that. Her name was Janet Marie Soflkancs. For 58 years he just called her “Jan.” Others have called her Mom, Grandma or Gigi. Ron was always Dad, Grandpa or Pops. Jan would call him Ronnie after a couple glasses of wine. And he would call her Janet only when he was trying to make a point!
Ron was a consummate salesperson in print advertising. A career that culminated in holding the presidency of Mast Advertising and Publishing. One of Ron’s prized professional achievements was the relocation of Mast’s corporate headquarters to a building he commissioned on the bluff above I-435 and Metcalf. Under Ron’s leadership, Mast Advertising experienced nationwide success in the Yellow Pages business becoming a subsidiary of Southwestern Bell and eventually ATT at which time it adopted the name Associated Directory Services. Ron retired from Mast/ADS in 1993 and began splitting time between homes in Florida and Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri. The lake house may be gone but every grandchild holds the same memory of Grandpa coming down to the dock for his daily inventory of half empty soda cans. “We open one … we finish one! That’s the rule.” Of course, nobody listened! He always kept the fridge too full.
Ron was a world traveler keeping Jan in and out of airports and cruise ships for the last 30 years. If he wasn’t on a trip … he was planning the next one. As a car enthusiast, he was extremely proud of his 1936 Ford Cabriolet convertible. He eventually tired of the show circuit and donated it to the antique car museum in Hershey, Pennsylvania. In 1974 Ron earned the title of Honorary Kentucky Colonel, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Everybody could always identify Ron’s car by his Kentucky Colonel license plate.
Ron is survived by his wife Janet, his daughters Bootsie Martin (Rod) of Cedar Creek, Darlynn McDaniels (Jeff) of Cedar Creek and son Matthew Kennedy of Gardner. Five granddaughters: Brooke, Ashley, Morgan, Lacey and Maddie. Great grandchildren: Cooper and Stella. Ron is also survived by his brother Roger Kennedy (Karen) of Vermilion, Ohio and their children.
We love you RDK36. We’ll miss you terribly.
A visitation will be held Sunday, February 9th from 3-5 pm at Johnson County Memorial Chapel located at 11200 Metcalf Avenue. A funeral mass will be conducted on Monday, February 10th 10:30 am at The Holy Trinity Catholic Church Parish Chapel, 9130 Pflumm Rd, Lenexa, KS. A lunch will be served after the service.
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