It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our sister, aunt and great-aunt, Gay Irene Kennedy, in her 75th year on January 19, 2022 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is preceded in death by her parents, Robert L. Kennedy (1990) and Joan M. Kennedy (2021), and leaves behind her brother, Peter (Carol) and sister, Janet (Sam), nieces, Lisa (Paul) and Krista, and nephew, Michael (Heather), great nieces, Jessica (Howard), Delaney and Samantha and great-nephew, Matthew, as well as many dear cousins and friends.
Gay had many unique and enviable qualities and will always be remembered for her kindheartedness and gratitude. She had the extraordinary capacity to be non-judgmental and speak kindly to others at all times, without ever being pretentious or disingenuous. And despite negative influences, she always remembered, thought of and saw the very best in every person. To her, no one was a stranger, and in her own uninhibited way, she'd abandon social norms and engage them in candid conversation. And in doing so, she endeared herself instantly to almost everyone she came into contact with. Her curiosity knew no bounds, and she was always inquiring about the health and welfare of friends and family. Less evident were her remarkable memory and psychic abilities.
Gay has an ancient and formidable spirit and the path it took came with a mountain of challenges throughout her life. They say "those who possess innocence have wisdom", and if so, Gay then had this beautiful dichotomy of both. She had an inherent wisdom despite her impairment, yet with an irresistible innocence that transcended her age. And of all her qualities, it was her innocence that touched people the most; along with her indelible sense of humour. Much like our father, she constantly delighted everyone with her humorous comments and enthusiasm.
She loved bowling (won two trophies), artwork, games, crafts, corresponding with her many friends, and was an avid sports fan. She had a natural affinity to animals and children, and enamored us with her exuberant love of animals. She surrounded herself with the stuffed variety at every opportunity and gave them both a name and personality. She was so easy to please and bring happiness to, it was profound.
If only I had more time with her. There were too many conversations we never had, too few occasions to tell her I loved her unconditionally, and too many lost opportunities just to be with her and enjoy ourselves. But then, aren't regrets the way when we lose someone too early, it seems, and so dear to our hearts? Gay taught me a lot and the principles by which she lived will remain as guideposts along the way for as long as I live. I will continue to miss her beyond measure, as will all who loved her.
Our enormous gratitude to Myra Rosario, Gay's dedicated and loving caregiver of the last eleven years, The Salvation Army's Community Venture program, Wendy Lynch and Maitland B. Steinkopf for their three decades of diligent support, and to the doctors and medical staff at the Health Sciences Centre ICU and 4th floor for their wonderful care during Gay's final weeks.
A private service will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, all random acts of kindness to others would be greatly appreciated.