Charles Woodrow Kennedy

Published 10:49 am Tuesday, October 13, 2020

CENTERVILLE — Charles Woodrow Kennedy was born December 15, 1946, in Quitman, Mississippi. He died October 7, 2020, in Centreville, Mississippi.

He was the third child and only son born to Phillip Clyde Kennedy and Margaret Aline Ivy Kennedy.

When Charlie was a seventh grader his family moved to Wiggins, Mississippi, where he attended Stone County High School. He graduated in 1964, receiving many honors including Mr. Stone County High School. A gifted athlete, he excelled in football, basketball, and baseball. He signed a professional baseball contract with the New York Yankee organization upon high school graduation and spent several years pitching in the minor leagues. When baseball season ended, he enrolled in Perkinston Junior College (now Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) to play basketball for legendary coach Bob Weathers. During his years at “Perk” his team won the state championship and he formed lifelong friendships with his teammates. In 2014, Charlie was inducted into the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Athletic Hall of Fame.

He and several of his teammates went on to play basketball at Belhaven College where he helped build another winning team. While at Belhaven, he met and married the love of his life, Nancy McGraw Kennedy. They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary on December 10, 2019.

Charlie obtained both his bachelor and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi. In 1972, he and Nancy moved to Natchez where he began his long teaching and coaching career at Thomas Jefferson School and continued teaching and coaching at Trinity Episcopal Day School and Adams County Christian School until his retirement in 2003. His summers were spent teaching hundreds of Natchez students how to drive. Throughout those years he enjoyed coaching baseball and football. Charlie always said that he was fortunate to learn the art of coaching football from the best, his friend and mentor, Bobby Marks. Together they coached the first state championship team at Adams County Christian School in 1982. That team was selected by the Natchez Democrat as the team of the century.

After retiring and moving to Woodville, Mississippi, one of his former students talked him into returning to the classroom at Wilkinson County Christian Academy in 2012. He spent the next five years loving his profession once again and retired for a final time in 2016.

Preceding him in death were his parents, a sister, Shirlee Ann Kennedy Arkwright, and his beloved daughter, Kathryn Lynn Kennedy Smith. He is survived by his wife, Nancy of Woodville, his daughter Karen Leigh Kennedy Novak of Enterprise, Mississippi, and his two grandchildren, Trenton Charles Novak and Janice LaVerne Novak. He also leaves behind his sister, Joyce Kennedy Alexander and her husband Larry of Wiggins, Mississippi; two nephews, Russell Kennedy Dorsett and Paul Jeffrey Dorsett; two nieces, Meg Dorsett Cain and Kelly Ann Arkwright.

Memorial Services will be held Friday, October 16, 2020, at noon at the Woodville United Methodist Church under the direction of Newman Funeral Home. Visitation will be at the church from 10 a.m. until service time. The family requests that you social distance and wear your masks if able.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Woodville United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1708, Woodville, MS 39669 or to Wilkinson County Christian Academy. PO Box 977, Woodville, MS 39669, or a charity of your choice.