Patrick M. Kennedy was a dedicated teacher who believed in doing whatever he could to help his students.
Kennedy, who taught in the Omaha Public Schools for 30 years, often arrived early and stayed late to help children who were struggling, said his son, Mike Kennedy.
“He was very adamant to make sure every child had an education, no matter their background,” he said.
Patrick Kennedy, 71, lost his battle with cancer Thursday.
A history teacher, Kennedy prepared students for competitions such as Nebraska History Day and projects involving the G.I. Forum.
The latter work was recognized by the Hispanic community in Omaha, which gave Kennedy a service award for his efforts.
He taught at Benson High School, Marrs Magnet Center and Morton Magnet Middle School, his son recalled. Kennedy received an Alice Buffett Outstanding Teacher Award in 1990, among other honors.
Some of his students assisted him in researching the first African-American communities in Brownville, Neb. The research is now at the Great Plains Black History Museum, Mike Kennedy said.
After retiring from OPS, Patrick Kennedy became an adjunct history professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Kennedy also served on the Nebraska State Historical Society board as president from 2000 to 2005, and he was a member of the Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission.
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, he went to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, before moving to Omaha. He received his master's degree from UNO in 2002 after writing his thesis on the history of the Winnebago missions.
Survivors include his wife, Judy, and children, Mike, Matt, Mary, Brian, Jennifer and Ryan. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Aug. 24 at St. Cecilia Cathedral.