board Treasurer

A well-traveled Jazz lover

John kennedy

I was born in England and, at a young age, moved with my parents to Michigan.  After an initial failed attempt at college, I joined the Navy to see the world yet never saw a ship.  The bright side is that I never got seasick.

After completing my military service, I enrolled at Western Michigan University and completed my degree majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and business.  I went on to complete my MBA.  Western Michigan also has one of the nation’s best jazz programs, a reason they have often appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival. 

After graduation, I was an advertising manager with Kelvinator International. This position brought me a great deal of travel, mainly in Europe. I then went to work for then-GTE, now Verizon, with positions in sales, then marketing. I worked and lived overseas, first in Saipan, then South Africa, and eventually Venezuela. After their “merger of equals where no one will lose their job” with Bell Atlantic, I was among the 60,000 people that lost their jobs.

Following a year of travel, I bought a restaurant in Fairhope, Alabama that offered live jazz on Saturday nights. Three years and a couple of hurricanes later, I sold it and worked for a couple of local companies. I landed with Proctor & Gamble. I retired eventually, but continue working part-time for P&G. It keeps me out of trouble.

I suppose I got my interest in music, including jazz from my father. Prior to World War II, my father played trumpet in Britain’s Royal Air Force Jazz Band. I played several instruments in school as well as in the high school A Cappella Choir. I toured England for three weeks with the choir during the summer following graduation.