Cover photo for Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D.'s Obituary
Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D. Profile Photo
1932 Dr. 2018

Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D.

January 25, 1932 — January 13, 2018

Dr. James Ray Kennedy, Ph.D., 85, of Edinboro died Saturday, January 13, 2018 at UPMC Hamot. He was born in California, PA on January 25, 1932, the son of the late James and Katherine Kennedy.

Jim was a 1953 graduate of California State College (now California University of PA) and later received his Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

He was drafted into the US Army in 1953 and was honorably discharged in 1955.

Jim started his career teaching general science at California Community High School in 1955 and, after four years, became the guidance counselor for three years. In 1963 he left the high school and became a professor at Edinboro University of PA until his retirement in 1987.

During high school and college, Jim excelled at playing basketball and was inducted into the California High School Sports Hall of Fame and the California University of PA Sports Hall of Fame. He was a coach, mentor and friend to many at both the high school and college level.

He was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Edinboro. He was also on the Board of Directors for Rainbow for Girls and received the Grand Cross of Colors Award. Jim was also a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Edinboro, where he served as an Elder and a past Deacon.

He was preceded in death by a brother, William Kennedy and his wife Zana, a brother in law, Clarence “Jitz” Higinbotham and his in laws, William “Gale” and Mary “Edna” Snyder.

Survivors include his loving wife, of 64 years, Wanita S. Kennedy; three daughters, Terri (Richard) Lyons of Meadville, Lianne (Randy) Walker of Edinboro, and Pat Kennedy of McKean; a sister, Janet Higinbotham of Connellsville; two sister in laws, Donna (John) Duvall of California, PA and Carol Sue (Don) Corbett of Waynesburg, PA; also three grandchildren, Nathan (Katie Garrison) and Sara (Josh Brady) Lyons, and Hannah (Dan) Crosby, many nieces and nephews, and his wonderful dog, “Bella” a West Highland Terrier who he rescued.

Friends may call at the First United Presbyterian Church, 4281 Rte 6N, Edinboro, PA, on Thursday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. A Masonic service will be held Thursday at 8:30 p.m. A funeral service will be held there on Friday at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. Greg Gillespie officiating.

Burial of ashes will be in Edinboro Cemetery at a later date. Memorials may be made to the First United Presbyterian Church, 4281 Rte 6N, Edinboro, PA 16412 or to the Edinboro University Men's and Women's Basketball Program, 219 Meadville St., Edinboro, PA 16444. To send condolences please visit

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D., please visit our flower store.


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