William Leon Kennedy, born April 19, 1932 to the late Matilda Brooks Johnson and Wilson Kennedy, Sr. in Burrisville, MD. “Billy” as we so affectionately called him, started his education at the School House in Burrisville, MD, and then on to Kennard High School. He later moved to Baltimore, Maryland where he completed his education at Frederick Douglass High School in West Baltimore.
Billy was blessed with the innate ability to use his vocals to produce such a unique sound that no one could duplicate. Somewhere along his journey he picked up showmanship. He took his voice and act on the road, as he toured and made several recordings with the gospel group, Harmonizing Five. He also sang jazz, R&B and gospel at various venues throughout the United States as well as bless the family with performances whenever asked.
In his earlier years, Billy was quite debonair, with tailored suits, gators, and processed hair. He created a presence that dominated any room that he found himself in. By the same token, he could break you down on a pool table, tell you crazy jokes, and then sell you a bridge, all in one conversation. Then there was the other side of him, the one where he showed his relentless love for his family, especially his Aunt Mary and Aunt Jennie Mae.
At the end of any given day, when the story is told, he was just “Billy Kennedy who lived on the hill, never worked and never will.” Was he perfect? NO WAY! But to the Brooks family he was a “legend.” There has not been, and will never be another like him. His wit, humor, and love will forever go unparalleled.
Billy was preceded in death by his brothers Kenneth Kennedy and Leon Kennedy. He leaves to mourn six children, Andre Kennedy of Las Vegas, NV; Arnal Kennedy of California; Wayne Bowman of Pennsylvania; Sharon Kennedy of Baltimore, MD; Wendy Kennedy of Burlington, NC; and Tonya Kennedy of Baltimore, MD. Four Grandchildren, Nakita Jeffreys of Burlington, NC; Quartnee Thomas of Baltimore, MD; Mia Smith of Baltimore, MD; and Ayanna Kennedy of Baltimore, MD. Four siblings, Catherine Kennedy Gudger of Washington, DC; Doris Kennedy Thompson of Norfolk, VA; Sylvia Kennedy Dobson of Great Mills, MD; and Wilson Kennedy Jr. of Wilmington, DE. A very special cousin Roslyn Fenwick, and a host of other cousins and many friends.
Today, we bid farewell to “Billy Kennedy who lived on the hill”.