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On December 20, 2018, Lois Kathryn Wiles Kennedy, loving wife and mother, left this earth to be with her heavenly father. Surrounded by the loving embrace of her family, Lois passed away peacefully and with dignity at the age of 72, after a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Lois, a lifelong resident of Hancock County, was born on November 2, 1946, to Harmon Russell (“Bunk”) and Juanita May (Storm) Wiles. Lois graduated from Hancock County High School in 1965. Shortly after graduation, on October 22, 1966, she married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Allen Eugene Kennedy, Sr. Lois and Allen had two children, Allen Eugene Kennedy, Jr., and Michelle LaKay Kennedy. Lois was a dedicated and loving mother. Over the years, she cheered on Allen Jr., and Michelle at countless band competitions and basketball, baseball and softball games. In her later years, Lois frequently attended Nashville Predators games with Michelle, who serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Predators.
When she was not with her family, Lois could most often be found greeting customers with a smile and friendly conversation at Hancock Bank and Trust Co. She began working for Hancock Bank in 1966 as Secretary to the President. A quick learner, Lois held various positions during her fifty plus years of service eventually becoming a Senior Vice President and serving on the Board of Directors. While working full time, Lois graduated from the Barrett School of Banking. Lois was so fond of her bank family and customers, that she never retired, still working two days a week as long as her health permitted. She will be missed deeply by her colleagues and customers.
Lois was actively involved in Hancock County’s business and civic activities as well. Over the years, she selflessly devoted her time, talents, and treasures to better her community. She was a longtime member of the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce and served as its treasurer for numerous terms. A breast cancer survivor, Lois worked tirelessly with the Relay for Life Campaign, helping many women through counseling and friendship. She was a laborer and the driving spokesperson on many projects for the Hancock County Repair Affair for fifteen years. Lois was also a member of both the Hawesville and Green River Area United Way Boards as well as the Hancock County Schools Foundation Board of Directors. She was also a member of the Hawesville Women’s Club. She was named the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year in 2015.
Lois loved to travel. She visited every state, including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as several foreign countries. The highlight of her travels was a church trip she and Allen Sr., took to the Promised Land in Israel. She also loved taking yearly trips with her sister, Gaye Emerson, and the “bank girls”. Lois was always up for attending a social gathering; she particularly enjoyed the “all night” Rook parties hosted by good friends, Myrvin and Shirley Brown. Her signature gift of spreading joy to all who crossed her path, shown through her constant smiling, laughter, and good natured pranks, will never be forgotten.
Lois spent the majority of the final four months of her life in the hospital; her signature traits and loveable personality were on display there as well, even as she courageously fought through the debilitating effects of her disease. She became a crowd favorite among doctors, nurses, nurse care partners, physical and occupational therapists – even in a short period of time dominated by various surgeries and other procedures and treatments, she left an indelible mark on all who encountered her. A special note of gratitude to the oncologist who managed her care through the last months of her life, Dr. Alpa Nick. Dr. Nick is an extraordinary physician and an even better person; the Kennedy family will always be grateful for Dr. Nick’s thoughtful care and compassion.
While we mourn Lois’s passing on this earth, we take comfort in knowing that she is celebrating with Christ in Heaven. Lois accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior as a young girl. She was a lifelong member of Blackford Baptist Church. Over the years, she taught several Sunday school classes, participated in numerous mission and outreach activities, and served as church Treasurer. Mostly importantly, however, she followed Christ’s teachings in her everyday life. Her tireless Christian example is her greatest legacy.
Lois was preceded in death by her father, Russell, and mother Juanita. She is survived by her husband of over 52 years, Allen Sr.; son, Allen Jr. (Hawesville); daughter, Michelle (Nashville); sister, Gaye Emerson (Hawesville); several nieces, a nephew, great nieces, great nephews and cousins.
A celebration of Lois’s life and a funeral service will be held at 1 pm at Blackford Baptist Church on Thursday, December 27, 2018. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 at Gibson & Son Funeral Home, Hawesville from 2 pm until 8 pm and visitation Thursday, December 27, 2018 at Blackford Baptist Church from 9 am until service time.