Cover photo for James "Jimmy" M. Kennefick's Obituary
James "Jimmy" M. Kennefick Profile Photo

James "Jimmy" M. Kennefick

d. September 19, 2021

ACUSHNET – James (“Jimmy”) M. Kennefick, age 68, of Acushnet, passed away at home unexpectedly on Sunday, September 19, 2021. He was the beloved husband of Rebecca G. (Kirby) Kennefick for 48 years.

Jimmy was born in New Bedford to the late John and Dorothea (Lewin) Kennefick.

Jimmy lived a remarkable life. After enduring a difficult childhood, Jimmy committed himself to changing his circumstances and was determined to start a loving family of his own. He left school to support himself and married Rebecca when he was 20 years old and she was 18, and began working at Lambeth Rope in New Bedford, where he became an integral part of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, eventually serving as shop steward and leading a workers’ strike during which he was attacked, but not deterred, by a group hired by management. In the 1980s he also spent time traveling as a union organizer for the AFL-CIO before suffering an injury at work that led to him obtaining his GED and beginning his college education at UMass Dartmouth, where he graduated magna cum laude at 35 years old. He was offered a scholarship to UMass Boston’s graduate school, which he declined because he wanted the money to be given to a younger student. From there, he worked as a supervisor at the Department of Developmental Services from 1994 until he retired in December 2019. After retirement, he worked each Spring at Pope Park, for the Acushnet Parks Department, preparing the playgrounds and baseball fields for the upcoming season – a job he very much loved.

Jimmy was larger than life, tough-as-nails, but with a fierce and inexhaustible love for his family and friends. He selflessly supported anyone who he thought needed it, even befriending and voluntarily giving rides to doctors’ appointments and providing direct care for a terminally ill co-worker and a person that he happened to meet over a cup of coffee.

Jimmy was very active, always seen in the yard cutting his grass, gardening and maintaining his home and vehicles. He loved the outdoors, where he enjoyed fishing with friends and family members. He spent his mornings during his retirement on long walks in New Bedford, the City he grew up in and loved. He particularly enjoyed attending his grandsons’ sporting events, family vacations to Disney World and decorating the yard with his daughter, Ashley, for each holiday.

Jimmy passed unexpectedly, but peacefully, in his sleep after spending his last day attending his grandson’s football game and then with all three of his grandsons, having had the opportunity to tell them, one last time, how proud he was and how much he loved them.

James is survived by his loving wife, Rebecca; his son, Michael James Kennefick and his wife, ToniAnne Kennefick; his daughter, Ashley Kate Kennefick; his grandchildren, Michael James Kennefick, II, Ethan Salvatore Kennefick and Matthew Thomas Kennefick; his siblings, William A. Kennefick and Louise Bouchard; and several nieces and nephews. He was also the brother of the late John “Jack” Kennefick and brother-in-law to the late Robert (“Bobby”) D. Kirby, both of whom he was very close with during his life.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”
– Irish blessing

Jimmy’s visiting hours with his cremains will be held on Tuesday evening, October 5, 2021 at Perry Funeral Home from 5:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. His funeral service will be Private. Burial is also Private.

The family has requested that all attendees please wear a mask at all times. Thank you

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Arrangements are placed in the care of Perry Funeral Home, located at 111 Dartmouth Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. Please see our website: for condolences.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James "Jimmy" M. Kennefick, please visit our flower store.


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