Saying goodbye to James Kilkenny

by admin on January 31, 2016

in Tyler Businesses

Yesterday, I, among hundreds of others attended the funeral of James Kilkenny where we said goodbye a great man who leaves behind a great legacy.

It hasn’t sunk in for me and I don’t think it ever will. Mr. Kilkenny was a man of integrity and he cared so deeply about others. He was extremely easy to talk to about anything. He actually had a pretty good sense of humor as well.

I believe my last conversation with him was at my brother’s wedding. We were waiting in line outside to get into the building where the reception was about to be held and in the meantime, I slipped into a sports bar right next door to catch a glimpse of the Rangers game. Mr. Kilkenny walked in with me and we just sat there for a few minutes, watched the game and shot the breeze. I didn’t talk to him on a regular basis but it took no time at all to catch up. He was real personable. He asked me where I was working and when I told him, he said he wanted to read something I had written. I agreed that I would love that but sadly, I never got around to sending him anything. I guess I figured there would still be time.

Another memory I have occurred late in my college career. I had only a couple months or so until I graduated and I came home to watch a high school basketball game. He approached me and asked how much longer I had for school When I told him he said half jokingly, “Great, so then you’ll be ready to come coach these guys.” I had no intention to do that but I sure wouldn’t have complained about having the pleasure to work with him.

He always took an invested interest in others and as a teacher, helped equip students and others he came in contact with, with the proper tools needed in order to succeed. He had been all over the world many times. He adopted four girls in addition to his other six kids, and in many ways, was a father to many more, a spiritual father and a father-figure.

Mr. K and my dad were close friends when I was growing up. My parents as well as Jim and his wife Barbara, were adopting kids around the same time and they would joke as if they were competing to see who could adopt more kids. I don’t think my dad has any problem with letting Mr. Kilkenny win that battle.

Kilkenny resided in Tyler but left his mark all around the world. He is and will continue to be missed but his memories and passion will live on in those who knew him. Prayers go out to the Kilkenny family.

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