Tributes pour in after shock death of Big JK

Loving tributes from family, friends and business associates have poured in following the sudden death of one of Burnley's best-known characters.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 17th June 2016, 3:57 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 4:31 pm
The Kennedy family
The Kennedy family

Devoted family man and larger than life personality John Kennedy was general manager of TRW (formerly Lucas) having worked for the company since 1979,

A key player in the recent regeneration of the town, John was a ‘big man with a big personality’ whose positive presence and passion for his family and the town he loved never waned.

But his first love was undoubtedly his family.

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He married his childhood sweetheart Sue Reeve in June 1981. The pair had met at Burnley Grammar School in 1973.

The devoted couple went on to have three children, Charlotte, Jamie and Josh

John was a devout family man who adored and doted on his wife Sue and was extremely proud of his children and their achievements.

Charlotte, his first born child, was a high achiever academically from a young age, clearly getting this from her dad. More recently John was proud that Charlotte had become engaged to Michael, a man he valued and respected as a son.

He also had great affection for Jamie’s partner Charlotte and Josh’s partner Kayla.

For his sons, John used to spend his spare time coaching Jamie’s youth football teams at Barrowford Celtic, the only under 8s team at the time playing the offside trap, but also the only team to win everything.

He had a huge affection and protective instincts for Josh and one of his proudest moments came when he completed his Sports Science degree and commenced his Masters degree.

John was also a loving grandpa to Charlie John (8) and Archie Thomas who is just six months old.

John continued to show his support and loyalty to his family when he invested in his family run business, Fitness Experience Personal Training Centre, in 2011. Sue, Jamie and Josh all work there as personal trainers.

Speaking on behalf of the family, his son Jamie paid tribute to the man known as ‘Big JK’.

He said: “He was our best friend, our hero.

“He was totally devoted to his family. He adored his wife for more than 40 years and gave everything to us all.

“The hundreds of tributes that have been paid to him tell us just how much he was respected and regarded as a family man, friend and colleague.

“He loved and supported his family in every possible way and was always there for us. He was an inspiration to us all in all that he did and in the way he approached life.

“Second best was never good enough whether it be in life, sport or at work, where his passion for quality took him to the top of a company that he took such great pride in.

“We will never forget the advice, love and stability he gave to us all. He was, quite simply, the best husband, dad, grandpa and friend ever.”

John Kennedy was born in Glasgow in 1958 and this laid the foundation for his life-long passion for Glasgow Rangers.

He moved to Burnley at the age of eight with his parents and attended Todmorden Road Primary School. His mum Isabella died when John was just 17, so he had to help his dad Thomas bring up his little sister Karen who was just nine at the time. His father is extremely proud of what John achieved in both his family and professional life

John remained a Rangers season ticket holder and travelled the hundreds of miles to home games with his great friend and fellow Burnley Bondholder Donnie Doran. John was also a passionate Clarets supporter and also had a season ticket for Turf Moor.

l John Kennedy’s funeral will take place on Friday, June 24th, at 2.15 pm at St Matthew’s Church, St Matthews Street, Manchester Road, Burnley.

This will be followed by a service at Burnley Crematorium at 3.40pm and will then move to Burnley Football Club 1882 Suite. All who wish to attend are welcomed by the family.