Early on Monday, March 21, 2022, the world lost an incredible husband, brother, father, uncle, grandfather, great-grandfather, mentor, and friend.
John Kennedy was born on September 2, 1938, in New Waterford to the late Neil and Sadie (MacNeil) Kennedy, the third of nine siblings. With his charm, curly dark hair and dance moves, John was fighting off ladies left, right and centre until the 1950’s when he met the love of his life, Sondra, and it was game over. John and Sonnie built a beautiful and fulfilling life together on Borden Street in Whitney Pier and raised four children. She was always by his side, his best friend and his biggest supporter.
A charismatic, kind and hard-working man, John had time for everyone he met no matter what walk of life they came from or how they crossed paths. He remembered everyone. Those who had the pleasure of knowing him would all say the same thing, he was one of the best storytellers on the Island. His stories were riddled with the knowledge he gained from the many hats he wore in our community, from coal miner and salesman to deputy mayor, entrepreneur and teacher.
John’s barber shop in the Pier changed its location a couple times, but the comfort and inclusiveness he provided never wavered. It wasn’t just a “chop,” it was an experience. People came to John for the safe space he fostered or sometimes just for a good laugh. His family loves hearing the endless stories of how John encouraged and supported people of all age.
For many years John’s devilish smile and twinkling blue eyes was a sight to see as he welcomed you with open arms onto his many boats, but his most beloved was the “Just Johnny” named in memory of his late grandson. He thrived with his family and friends out on the water and was eager to take newcomers out for a rip, always letting them take over the wheel to captain the boat. If you were lucky, you might have been dragged to a dance floor by John and taught his favorite move, “the freeze”.
John also loved hockey, playing it, watching it, and coaching it. His enthusiasm, grit and underdog mentality guided his children and grandchildren through their own hockey experiences. As a die-hard leaf’s fan, he got animated watching them to say the least.
The Kennedy family had John and Sonnie out for cards weekly but were always on the lookout for his slight of hand. He would say his mother taught him and she was the only one to blame. John taught his grandchildren and great-grandchildren to play as well, upping the ante with pennies or the promise of treats from the store, but usually let them win anyway.
John preached and portrayed loyalty, perseverance, and gratefulness every single day. He lived life to the fullest and would drop anything for those he loved, and even for those he didn’t but knew needed him.
John will be forever cherished by his devoted wife, Sondra, who he affectionately referred to as ‘Red’; sons, Vince (Ann Marie) Kennedy, David (Cathy) Kennedy, Derek (Ellie) Kennedy, and daughter, Carol Kennedy Rizzetto; grandchildren, Kyle, Jenna, Liz, Cammy, Manda, Breton, Kendra, Ashley, Jordan, and Maria, Tony, Gianni, and Sophia (father, Joe Rizzetto); great-grandchildren, Hayden, Nolan, Alivia, Emma, Mia, Riley, Hannah May, Lucius, Cole, Myla and Luna; brothers, Alex (Dolores), Paul (Pam), Steve (Liz), Archie and Joe; sisters, Helen, Dolores, and sister-in-law, Pricilla.
Besides his parents, John was predeceased by brother, Neil (Deet’s); grandson, Johnny Kennedy; granddaughter, Sondra Rizzetto, and son-in-law, Gilbert Oravcez.
John’s family would like to thank Dr. Myatt and Janice for a lifetime of care alongside the doctors and nurses in palliative care and on 3B for their attentiveness and compassion over the last couple weeks. We would also like to thank all our family and friends for their continuous support and thoughtful gestures.
It is requested that donations to the Children’s Wish Foundation be made in memory of John, in lieu of flowers.
Visitation for the late John Kennedy will be held at the Pier Community Funeral Home, Whitney Pier, 1092 Victoria Rd. (entrance on Church Street) from 4-7 p.m. on Friday, March 25, 2022. A celebration of John’s life will be held in the funeral home in the All Faith Chapel on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at 2 p.m. with Fr. Paul Murphy officiating. Interment will take place St. Alphonsus Cemetery, Victoria Mines.
Covid protocols will be practiced at the service and for those unable to attend, Live Streaming will be available on our website.
Click Here: https://www.facebook.com/35925689617/live/
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the care and direction of Pier Community Funeral Home.
All my love goes out to my family during this time of loss. Wish I could be there with you all. Love, Aunt Rona
Sondra, Vince, David, Carol, Derek & Family,
Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of John. To know John was to love him and we all loved him immeasurably. I was happy I was able to spend some time with him last year when I was home. I will hold those memories and my heart forever. My thoughts are with you at this difficult time. XOXO
From: Sharon MacPherson-Nemeth & Family
Carol, Maria, Tony, Gianni and Sofia:
We are so sorry for the loss of your Dad/grandfather. We hear lots of great stories of how kind and humorous he was. We are thinking of you all!
From: Howard and Kim Lake and family
Carol and family, I am so sorry to read of the passing of your dear dad. Please accept our condolences at this very difficult time. I hope that your wonderful memories will bring you some peace and comfort.
From: Dave & Cathy MacNeil
Our most sincere sympathy to Sondra and the entire family. Our thoughts are with you all during this difficult time.
From: Andrew and Cathy Fraser
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family on their loss of John.
From: Nick & June Usher
Sonnie and family: My condolences to you and all your beautiful family on the loss of John! You are in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time! RIP John Image removed by sender. 🙏Image removed by sender. 🙏Image removed by sender. ❤
From: Bonnie NacNeil
Carol and family …So sorry to hear this news. I remember your father’s smiling face every time I went into Kennedys Dairy , in the Pier , he was always so pleasant. Lovely man . He will be sadly missed ! Condolences to all the family.
From: Lori Rudderham
Carol & Family,
So sorry to read of the passing of your father. Your Dad was a great man and the write up is a beautiful tribute to his life and how he lived life. May the wonderful memories help to ease your sorrow. Our deepest condolences to you Carol, your Mom and all of your family.
Sincerely, Donnie & Ellen Bacich
Condolences to Johnny’s Family .
He was a Good Man and served Family and this community well .
He will be missed.
From: Hugh Fraser
Condolences to Johnny’s family. He was a very positive and respected man in the community. He left a lot of great memories to be remembered by for sure. R.I.P. Johnny.
From: Fogarty/Primmer families
To Sonnie & Family:
Saddened to hear of John’s passing. Sending our most heartfelt condolences to you and your family.
Love and Prayers,
Sally and John
My deepest condolences to the Kennedy family , i had the pleasure of meeting John many moons ago . A fine gentleman he will be dearly missed.
From: Paul OToole
Dear Sonya and family-Gary and I were very sad to hear of John’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this painful time.
From: Gary and Elaine Evely
Sincere condolences Carol and all your family. RIP John.
From: Janet DeYoung
Our hearts, prayers and hugs go out to Johnny’s family. He will be forever missed.
From: Eleanor Gillis
Sondra & Family,
I am so sorry to hear about John’s passing. I will always remember as a young lad his positive words of encouragement whether it was in the Whitney Pier Rink or his barber chair. He was a great man. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
From: Francis Reppa
From my family to yours we send our deepest sympathies for the loss of your father. We are wishing you all peace and comfort during this time.
From: Paul Fernandes
So sorry to hear of your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. Sincere condolences.
From: Linda & Dave
Condolences to the Kennedy family. John coached me in hockey and cut my hair until I left Sydney. John was one of the good ones and will be missed
From: Joe Collins
Carol, Sondra and families;
It was sad to hear about John’s passing. My condolences. He was a true gentleman and when you talked with him he was always engaged and affirming.
I hope the great memories and good times will help ease your grief as you remember him. Take care.
Joey and I were very saddened to hear this news. Our deepest condolences to all of John’s family. Sincerely, Cindy and Joey Nemis
My deepest condolences to John’s family.
Condolences for your loss.
Erin,Dylan and myself were at a loss when we Heard the News.
I have had the Greatest pleasure to get to know John.
From the moment 26 to 27 years ago when I had the pleasure to here many stories John would convey about his personal life and his work life.
From being the local barber, miner and Even the Deputy Mayor.
I must say a colorfully life and a very happy large Family.
I learned from Knowing Erin my wife that she look at Jonny and Sonny as/like Grand Parents there by our Son Dylan looked and them as Great Grandparents, not by family name nor Blood but by there relationship.
It is with Honor ,Joy and a privilege that my Family had the Chance to know and grow with Jonny and Sonny.
Thank you John for what you did and accomplished while you were here you will never be forgot because we will continue to tell your story.
So sorry for your loss. He was a great man
Our deepest sympathy on Johnny’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.
Dear Sondra my deepest condolences. I will always remember the special love you and John shared with each other. My deepest sympathy to all the family. John was a wonderful man. God Bless you all. Hugs sweet family.
Sondra, Carol, Vince, David and family, I am so sorry to learn of Johnny’s passing. I have many good memories of fishing stories being told around the table. The story got better each time it was told. The obituary describes him perfectly. He will be missed by many. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Condolences to the family.
Deepest condolences to the Kennedy family.. very fond memories of John. He loved talking about growing up in New Victoria. Rip John
Condolences to the family on your loss. John used to cut my husband Harry’s hair and they would always have stories to tell. An amazing and likeable man.
We are heartbroken to hear about John. A great man and a great friend to all who knew him. Our prayers are with you.
My condolences Son and family. Just thinking of all our camping trips and outings we were able to enjoy with you and John on your visits to Ontario. Great memories, thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
My sincere condolences, to the family. He was a great neighbor, But mostly remember him from owning the candy store. He was such a great guy. My thoughts an prayers with you all at this difficult time.
Sonnie and family. Doug and I were saddened to hear of John’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers will continue for you as you mourn the loss of John, an amazing loving man. God Bless you all.
So sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was such a well respected man in Whitney Pier. Many of us in the pier got our first haircut at John’s Barber Shop. My condolences go out to the Kennedy family during this difficult time, may John fly with the Angels and watch over them for eternity 🙏
I’m am truely sorry to hear of Johns passing ,Donna and family please except my deepest condolences I’ve known John most of my entire life as a neighbor and friend and as well as the entire family again my deepest condolences too you all
My thoughts and most sincere sympathies are extended to all family members and friends. Dedicated and committed to his community of Whitney Pier. Fly high John.
Sondra, Carol, Vince, David and Derek, and family. So sorry to hear of John’s passing. I have fond memories growing up by you and John. He wad a well respected and loved gentleman. Always he’d time for a chat whenever our paths crossed even when I moved away from the neighborhood. May God Bless you all during this very difficult time. My condolences to you all
So sorry to hear John has passed . He was a great neighbour and friend to everyone in the years I have known him growing up. He will be missed by everyone that has had the pleasure of knowing him. Condolences to Sondra and family. Rest In Peace John.
So very sorry to hear of Johns passing. Many years as neighbours and friends. Deepest condolences Sondra and family. Forever in our hearts. Love Junior and Gale Ranni
So very sorry to hear of your loss condolences to all the family.
Our prayers and sincere condolences to the Kennedy family at this most difficult time
Sondra and family, We are so sorry to hear of John’s passing. As a young boy going to John’s for a haircut, then seeing him at your store where we were always settling the world’s problems, to a hockey coach and manager who was instrumental in the lives of many teenagers growing up in the Pier. He was a great influence in the lives of many.
So sorry to hear of John’s passing . He was a well-known gentleman in Whitney Pier.
Sondra and family….I’m so sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was a fabulous neighbor and friend. He was always so nice to us kids growing up in the neighborhood. My Dad will probably be sitting on a step up in heaven waiting for John to arrive so they can have a sit and a chat like they always use to do. Sending thoughts and prayers to you all. RIP John.
Sondra and family I am so sorry to read of John’s passing. He was a great guy, always stopping to chat and tell stories. He will be missed by many.
Condolences to the family,John was a great community man, his was my barber,hockey coach and was well respected in those duties as well as anything else he showed an interest.
Haven’t seen nor heard about this gentleman in ages, he was my barber for years and could always touch base when he ran his store with his lovely wife Sondra. Unforgettable gentleman. RIP
To Vince, your mom, and the entire family our sincerest condolences. He was a very nice man, always so pleasant and personable. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Bill and Betty Smith
To Carol & your entire family I send my deepest condolences. Even though I did not know your dad personally, I did know of him. He was my father’s (Allister Lundrigan) barber for as long as I can remember. And then my father started taking my son to him. Borden’s barber shop was a family tradition. Dad always spoke so highly of him.
Beautiful words for a life well lived. It was always a pleasure and usually a laugh to bump into John over the years, so many great memories. Our deepest condolences Howie and Donna Burt.
Johnny was a good man and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
Please accept our deepest condolences and prayers for your whole family.
Johnny was in deed one of the Good Guys.
Ed &Jean Gillis
Our sincere condolences to Sondra and family in the passing of John. May John rest in peace.
My Son Adam Lewis and I are deeply saddened to hear of John’s passing. We have very fond memories of John and he will be dearly missed. Our heartfelt condolences are extended to his family. God Bless!
Dear Family,we extend our heartfelt condolences to you all at this difficult time.You are blessed with wonderful memories of your loved one to treasure. God Bless, Sincerely, Ed and Doreen Tynski
Dear Carol and family,
Deepest Sympathy from us both in the loss of your darling Dad. May all those wonderful memories bring you comfort and be a blessing in the days to come.
We are very sorry for your loss. John was a good man. At the barber shop he treated us kids with respect and kindness. His contributions to his community will be long remembered.
Bert and Maurina Lewis, Port Hawkesbury
Johnny was so proud to be a spring pig” from New Victoria. We always chatted wherever we met. He will be missed for sure. Our condolences to you Sondra and family. Hugs Butch and Hughie
So saddened to hear of Johnny’s passing. He will always hold a special place in my heart. He was such a lovely human being, always smiling with that twinkle in his eye, always sharing a story and a laugh. My sincere condolences to Sonnie, Vince, David, Carol, Derek and families.
My condolences to the Kennedy family. I knew John and his family since I was 10 years old and everybody loved John. Hugs to you all.
So sorry for your loss. One of the nicest people I have ever met. Rest us peace Mr. Kennedy💕
Most heartfelt condolences from Glen & I. Thoughts & prayers are with you all..
So sorry to hear of Johns passing,I remember taking my dad to get a hair cut ,he liked a John very much.my prayers are with you Sonnie and your family
To the Kennedy family,
Sending our sincerest condolences to all the family. The obituary portrays his personality well. Thinking of you all during this difficult time. May all the good memories bring you comfort in time. The Kennedy clan in heaven will welcome him. RIP Johnny
Mary Lou, Terri, Paula
So very sorry to hear of Johns passing. Wonderful neighbour and friend. Sincere condolences to Sondra and family. Rest in Peace John
Sorry for your loss. My condolences to the Family and friends. John was a great guy. RiP.
Carol and family,
Sorry to hear of your dad’s passing
Hope all of your beautiful memories will bring you comfort in the coming days…..ours thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Lynn & Sheldon Marinelli
Our hearts are saddened to hear of John’s passing. Sonny and family , you are in our thoughts and prayers. Enjoyed our times together and always shared a laugh or too. Our condolences to all of you. We have lost an Icon. Hugs
So very sorry for your loss. Love and prayers to you all
So sorry to hear about Johns passing. John was a wonderful neighbour. Deepest Condolences Sondra and family.
What a great man and dear friend.He will certainly be remembered.RIP my friend.
Carol and family. We were very saddened to hear of John’s passing. Such a kind and caring man. You have a wealth of fond memories to carry you through these difficult times. Take care all.
So sorry to hear of John’s passing. He was always so full of life and had time to speak to everyone. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Ross and Valerie Barrett.
My deepest sympathy to the Kennedy family on the passing of John. A great man indeed!
Carol and family. My sincerest condolences to you and the Kennedy family.
Our sincere condolences to all the family on the passing of John. I enjoyed my many conversations over the years. He will be missed.
I was sad to open the Cape Breton Post and to see John’s obituary.
How to describe the essence of John in a thousand words would be difficult.
Sondra we had some great trips and so much fun together. We truly enjoyed those times.
I am sending condolences to you and Carol and the boys.
Condolences to Sondra and family .
I spent a lot of time at John’s home as a child .
I have many fond memories of Johnny .
He was always so nice to Delores and I.
I was always so proud of my handsome cousin Johnny !
He will be missed RIP cuz !
My condolences to the Kennedy family! I remember John as a very, very nice man. He coached me one year in midget hockey in the pier and would come to my home in South Bar and pick me up for 6 a.m. practices at the Pier Rink!! Rest in peace John!
Sonnie and family. So sad for you ‘ I have great memories of Johnnie . A funny but serious man. The whole community list a great man!
Prayers and condolences to Sonnie and the Kennedy family and friends . May John RIP. Bless you all.
Dear Sonnie and Family,
We are so very sorry for your loss. Johnny was always full of fun and he will be greatly missed. We hope you can find comfort in your many happy family memories together. You certainly have lots of great stories. You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Terry Burke, Nancy Morton & Susan Burke
Sondra, Vince, David, Carol, Derek and Family
We were very saddened to hear about John. Growing up across the street from all of you brings back so many wonderful memories. So very kind and supportive over decades to our entire family. Such a fitting obituary to a man that wore many hats over the years and wore them well touching so many lives. He will be missed.
You are in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
Big hugs to all of you
Mary & Roddie Keeping
John Kennedy used to Cut my Air in Late 1990s until Year 2005 during my Junior High School Days and my High School Days and my Teenager and Young Adult Years he was a Great Barber he gave me Great Haircuts back in the Day
My deepest condolences to Sonnie, children and grandchildren. I have fond memories of the boat coming into South Bar wharf after Johnnie and Sonnie had a night out on the water.Yes his smile was bigger than life. So sorry for your loss.
My deepest condolences to Sonnie, children and grandchildren.I have fond memories of Johnnie and Sonnie coming into South Bar wharf after a night out on the water in the boat. Yes Johnnie had a smile bigger than life. So sorry for your loss.
Sondra, David, Vince, Carol, Derek
I am so sorry to learn of the passing of John. I have many memories of ‘the store’. My favourite memory is of John taking the neighbourhood kids for rides on the skidoo in winter in the field.
You are all in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
Sondra and Family
Sorry to hear of Johns passing. he was a great man always smiling.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.
Estelle and Stan
Sondra & Family:
So sorry to learn of John’s passing. Always such a friendly man.
May all your happy memories help you and your family during this difficult time .
Anne Marie & Donnie MacAskill
Sondra and Family,
Very saddened to hear of Johns passing, he was one in a million, a very special man, very talented and who had a great love of family and community. His humour and grace will be missed by all those who knew and loved him for who he was…his legacy and memory will live on through his wonderful family and friends . Our prayers are with you.
Michael & Dawn (Monahan) Reppa
Dear Sonnie, Carol, Maria and family ,
I’m so sorry to hear about John. You are such a close family with so many wonderful memories to hold in your heart. I’m thinking of you. – Amber Capstick
Dear Sonnie, Carol, Maria and family ,
I’m so sorry to hear about John. You are such a close family with so many wonderful memories to hold in your heart. I’m thinking of you.
My deepest condolences to Sonnie , children and grandchildren. I have fond memories meeting them different times and Johnnie had a smile as big as life always. Remember them docking at South Bar wharf after a night out on the water. Fond memories. May he rest in peace. Judy Drover
My deepestcondolences to Sonnie, children and grandchildre.I Remember Johnnies smile as big as life when you’d meet him. Fond memories of them docking at South Bar wharf after they had a night out on the water. Sorry to hear of his passing.
Sad sad news to hear of John’s passing, a true kind gentleman. My deepest condolence to Sondra and all the family in Cape Breton and beyond.
Our deepest sympathy to the family.He was one of the best,our thoughts and prayers are with you.JohnDavid and Donna Mclaughlin.
Our sincere condolences to Sondra and family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time. John was such a great man with a wonderful smile .Rest in peace John. Hugs Mary and Joe Keough
Sondra, Vince, David, Carol, Derek and families, I am so sorry for your great loss. I’ve known John for most of my life and have many fond memories of him. As Sandra K mentioned, the rides around the field on the snowmobile when we were kids have always been special memories for me. I will always remember his smile and twinkle in his eyes. God Bless
Carol and family,
Just learning of your father and grandfather’s passing, our deepest condolences to all of you on your loss.
Neil & Lori
My sincere condolences go out to Sondra and family on the passing of John.I received my first haircut form John as a child when he had the barber shop across from our home at the top of Connaught St.There were many more to follow.John also coached me in hockey during my teenage years.He was a wonderful man who did so much in the community.Always a pleasure to be around.He will be missed.