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Madeline Renee Kennedy
March 14, 1942 ~ January 19, 2024 (age 81) 81 Years Old
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Madeline Renee Kennedy, affectionately Renee, was born on March 14, 1942. The second daughter of four children born to Ernest Leselle Wilson and Jane Roberteen McGee Wilson. She is preceded death by her baby brother, Ernest L. Wilson, Jr. and baby sister, Linda Michelle Wilson. She died on January 19, 2024, at the age of 81.
Renee was a voracious reader and avid learner from early on. In fact, her aptitude for learning was so great, she was skipped a grade. She attended Hampton University where she majored in chemistry, was a cheerleader, joined a dance troupe, and became a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. While at Hampton, she met and fell in love with David L Kennedy Jr. She graduated with high honors on June 1, 1963 and was married June 2, 1963.
Renee went on to receive her master’s degree from Columbia University. While pursuing her PhD, she was two classes and a dissertation short of completion, when her appendix ruptured. The revelation of how precious life was prompted her to begin her family.
Renee gave birth to three children, but her most precious was her adopted/grafted daughter, Andrea Jones Sampson. Andrea met and married Eddie Sampson and then had four children of her own: Eddie, Desirae, Denae, and Elijah. She loved Andrea and Andrea’s children as her own, and often referred to them as her grandchildren. Renee gave birth to a son, David Kennedy, and two daughters, Keva Kennedy and Rashita Kennedy.
Renee loved to dance. She was a member of the Venettes Cultural Workshop in NY where she danced with the ladies group for 20+ years. She contributed her time, energy, and resources to continuing the work the Venettes Cultural Workshop pursued – above all was excellence in dance, service and education. She delighted in contributing to the college funds and other fund raisers yearly. She created lifelong friendships amongst the dancing women, her most treasured friendships included Millie Simonson, Fran Bush, and Vivian Blunt.
Her chosen professional career exemplified her dedication and service to others. A high school chemistry, physics, and computer science teacher by day, she tutored chemistry to those pursuing nursing or pharmacology degrees. She helped many people pursue higher education, even driving them to schools herself. (Who can forget the little lady in the station wagon?) It was in this capacity for service that she met Joe Gwen, a man who introduced himself as a Bible student.
She instantly realized this Bible student, a Jehovah’s witness, was showing her the truth. She welcomed a study, learned the truth, and dedicated herself to becoming a Jehovah’s witness. She was baptized in March of 1973. Renee enjoyed doing the door-to-door ministry while living in NY. When she retired and moved to Virginia, she no longer went door to door but took to informal witnessing and letter writing. She looked forward to the daily field service meetings via Zoom and the Friday cart witnessing.
Throughout her life, what mattered to her was how she treated others. Her motto for existing was Isaiah 6:8 – “Then I heard the voice of Jehovah saying, ‘who, shall I send, and who will do for us?’ And I said, here I am send me.”
Renee is also survived by a beloved, older sister, Esther T Davis. Esther’s son, Winston “Winnie,” his children and grandchildren, and Esther’s adopted/grafted daughter Christine “Debbie” and her son. Her dearest brother’s sons, William and Stuart, and his children and grandchildren. Her cherished baby sister’s daughters, Rhonda and Josie, and her children and grandchildren. Her own children Andrea, her children and grandchildren; David, Keva, and Rashita, and her favorite “furry grandbabies” – Copper, Ditto, and Shadow.
Professional services entrusted to the staff of Whiting's Funeral Home, 7005 Pocahontas Trail, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185. 757-229-3011 whitingsfuneralhome.com