Donnie (Don) Alich Kennedy, 74, a long-time resident of Southern Pines, formerly of Atlanta, died at FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care after a brief illness on November 24, 2018. 

Born in Gadston, Alabama, and raised in Piedmont, Alabama, Mr. Kennedy was the only child of the late Lassie Marie Welch Kennedy and Winfred Buren Kennedy. He graduated Jacksonville State University in 1966 with a degree in Business & Industry. In marked contrast, Mr. Kennedy’s professional pursuitsunderscored a fascination with and love for people – both young and old, from distinguishing himself in his youth as one of the more charismatic waiters at Atlanta’s iconic Pittypat’s Porch Restaurant, to teaching Marketing & Distributive Education at Pinecrest High School to ending his career at FirstHealth as a CNA and private duty nurse. Additional entrepreneurial adventures included founding and managing a horticultural nursery in Atlanta, Georgia, and a custom hand hooked rug retail store in Southern Pines. 

Those were the vocations. The avocations were legion: reader, raconteur, dinner party host, operagoer, traveler, gardener, master of needle and thread, 25+ year teetotaler, world-class putterer, Appalachian dulcimer student and foodie. Moreover, he was a lover: of people, animals and life. All those who knew Don either casually or intimately, can attest that the photograph which accompanies this obituary is completely in keeping with his spirit: when conjuring up his visage, the memory is never without a broad smile. His joie de vivre was palpable. 

While there were far more good times than not, in 2009 on the brink of retirement, Mr. Kennedy was a passenger in an auto accident which took the lives of all involved – including Sam the family cat – but spared Mr. Kennedy. With 14 separate injuries and scant chance for survival, he was rebuilt by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and learned to walk again within the year. Since that time he lived life to the hilt, taking full advantage of those bonus years.

His passing on Thanksgiving weekend does not go unremarked upon by Mr. Kennedy’s family and friends, all of whom are thankful for the gift of his love and friendship in their lives. 

Mr. Kennedy is survived by an uncle, Stewart Kennedy of Cupertino, California, and scores of treasured cousins and friends. His partner of 43 years predeceased him in the aforementioned accident. 

The family extends its thanks to FirstHealth Hospice for their compassion and expertise and all caregivers and physicians who attended to him. 

A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, December 11th at 5:00 p.m. at the chapel on the campus of FirstHealth Hospice & Palliative Care. 

Services entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines. 

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Donnie Alich Kennedy, please visit Boles’ Tribute Store.

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