• A man speaking with a microphone

      CM John J. Kennedy ({Photo – JohnJKennedyPasadenaCityCouncil)

      Councilmember John J. Kennedy passed away on July 21, 2022, after illness.

      By News Desk

      John J. Kennedy was elected in 2013 to serve as a Councilmember representing District 3. He was on the Finance Committee, Chair of the Public Safety Committee, and as one of three City representatives to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

      He ran for reelection and won the June 7, 2022 primary with 58.94% of the votes.

      • At the request of Mayor Gordo and City Council, flags at all City facilities have been lowered to half-staff in solemn tribute to Councilmember Kennedy.
      • At the request of Councilmember Kennedy’s family, in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to a scholarship fund held in the name of the Kennedy family at the Pasadena Community Foundation.
      • Councilmember Kennedy’s family kindly asks that they be provided privacy during this difficult time. More information will be forthcoming at a later time.
      • Pasadena City Council meeting for July 25. 2022, has been cancelled.


      Reactions to the passing of Councilman John J. Kennedy are being added as received:

      Former Mayor Terry Tornek:

      John was a big personality; he spoke for people who did not have a voice. He was fearless and was not afraid of being a lone voice. He’ll be missed. I’m shocked and very sad.

      Councilmember Gene Masuda:

      John cared about every person that he knew and did many great things for the City of Pasadena. I have many memories about him especially his passion for parks in his district because it benefited the community, especially the kids. So many of us will miss him dearly.

      Former Mayor of Pasadena, William Paparian:

      Deeply shocked and saddened. I knew John for many years going back to his leadership of the Pasadena Chapter of the NAACP. He was a true servant of the people.

      PUSD Board member Scott Phelps:

      He was a great person. We bonded over our shared interest in religion and service and his fond memories of being a student at Blair with friends of mine. We shared a desire to see the police change their tactics and training when it wasn’t popular. We both thought the world of the spirit and service of the late Jaylene Moseley. I admired his patience and determination in his advocacy for change. I miss his friendship already.

      PUSD Board member Jennifer Hall Lee:

      John was an incredibly thoughtful and warm person who loved his district and his community. My husband had won a ‘lunch with John Kennedy”‘at the Marshall Secondary School auction and we were all going to have lunch together in August. I was looking forward to a great time with him. This is terribly sad for all who knew him.

      PUSD Board member Patrick Cahalan:

      It’s always terribly unfortunate when a long standing member of the community dies unexpectedly from illness, my condolences to his family and friends.

      City of Pasadena:

      Our hearts are heavy today as we share news of the passing of beloved District 3 Councilmember John J. Kennedy. Councilmember Kennedy was a long-standing staple in our community and he will be greatly missed.

      Councilmember Kennedy proudly and tirelessly served District 3 since 2013. During his tenure on City Council, he was chair of the Public Safety Committee, served on the Finance Committee, and was one of three City representatives to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority. He served on a variety of local boards, including the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, the Pasadena Police Foundation, and the Tom Bradley Legacy Foundation at UCLA. He was an ardent supporter of affordable housing, paying workers a liveable wage, and hiring locally.

      Councilmember Kennedy was born and raised in Pasadena. From a young age, he dedicated his life’s work to serving others. He served as student body president at Blair High School and student senator at the University of Southern California, where he received dual degrees in International Relations and Economics. He earned a juris doctor degree from Howard University School of Law, and was the youngest person to have served as president of the Pasadena branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

      Mayor Victor M. Gordo:

      While we are all deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague, John Kennedy, we should always remember and celebrate his many accomplishments and contributions to our city and beyond. John Kennedy loved Pasadena and the people of Pasadena. He worked hard every day to make Pasadena a better place for everyone. He dedicated himself to helping others, and we are all better off because of his efforts. His was a life well-lived.

      Councilmember Steve Madison:

      John was a friend as well as a colleague. He was deeply rooted in Pasadena and fiercely committed to the City and its residents, especially working families, kids and the underprivileged–‘the least of these.’ I learned a lot from him and he’s left us way too soon. He was loved and will be greatly missed.

      Human Relations Commission, Chair Brandon Lamar:

      I’m devastated to hear about the passing of Mr. Kennedy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. John loved this city and his passion for Pasadena will be greatly missed.
      He has been very instrumental in taking Pasadena and especially district 3 to the place it is now. This is a tragic loss for all of us in Pasadena.

      Councilmember Felicia Williams:

      I am deeply saddened by the passing today of my colleague and friend, Councilmember John J. Kennedy. In addition to my father serving as a mentor to John during his leadership at the NAACP, John and I also worked together at Southern California Edison for many years. I will miss his humor, friendship through thick and thin, and most of all his absolute dedication to the Pasadena community that served as an inspiration to me and others. Our thoughts are with his family as the City mourns the loss of our irreplaceable John.

      Councilmember Tyron Hampton:

      Today we lost an amazing advocate in Pasadena. For me personally, I lost a brother. The passing of John J. Kennedy comes as a shock and it is a tremendous loss (statement excerpt).

      PUSD Superintendent Brian McDonald:

      I am deeply saddened by John’s passing. He was kind, compassionate and worked tirelessly on behalf of his constituents. I will greatly miss his regular text messages to me with words of encouragement. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.

      Councilmember Jess Rivas:

      I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of my colleague John Kennedy. John was a dedicated public servant who devoted his life to helping our community and made a positive lasting impact on our city. John welcomed me warmly to the council over a year ago and I am very thankful for his help and support as I stepped up into this role. He will be so very sorely missed. It is hard to imagine Pasadena without John.

      Coumcilmember elect Jason Lyon:

      I was so sad to learn of the death of Councilmember John Kennedy. John and I got together early in my campaign, and he checked in on me periodically. He was always generous with his time and his advice. We shared many of the same policy objectives, and I was looking forward to serving with him. May he rest in peace, and may light perpetual shine on him.

      A man surrounded by people at a holiday dinner

      New Years Eve 2013 in my home with John (Photo – William Paparian)


      > We and our family of employees send our condolences and prayers to the entire Kennedy family and residents of Pasadena.

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      1. Rev. Thomas & Helen Gladney Jr says:

        John will surely be missed by me and my husband. He was an inspirational first cousin. His / my mom were sisters. He will always be dear to my heart. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

      2. Evelyn King says:

        God Bless the Kennedy Family…Which were my neighbors for years in the 1960’s…John was my dearest 1st lil boy friend on Hammond St…. “I will miss you Mr. Big Stuff”

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