Reverend Alex Kennedy, 70, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 in Tulsa. He was the pastor of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Grove.
Father Kennedy was born on Jan. 9, 1947, in Hellifield, England to James and Margaret Elizabeth Kennedy, who preceded him in death.
His family moved to Port Huron, Michigan from Scotland when he was 6-year-sold.
He came to the University of Tulsa to complete his second two years of undergraduate study and then attended the TU School of Law.
He worked as a lawyer in the oil-and-gas industry for years and then converted to the Catholic Church in October 1985. His conversion eventually led him to consider the priesthood.
In 1987, responding to God’s call, he enrolled at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, which specializes in second career vocations. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 1, 1990, at the age of 43.
After his ordination, he assigned as pastor of Sacred Heart and Assumption Parishes in Muskogee, Oklahoma and was an associate pastor when St. Joseph in Muskogee was built under the leadership of Father Herman Foken. He subsequently served as the pastor of St. Monica and St. Augustine, both in Tulsa.
Next came his assignments as pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Vinita, Oklahoma and then St. Elizabeth Church in Grove, where he served until his passing. He also served the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma in several administrative positions during his ministry.
It was his moral theology class in the seminary that piqued his interest in health care and bioethics. For a time, Father Kennedy researched these issues on his own, but he also attended meetings of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.
In the mid-2000s, he began a year-long certification program in bioethics that involved online work, conference calls and seminars and workshops under the guidance of Father Tad Pacholczyk, director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
Father Kennedy took oral exams in Philadelphia and wrote a major paper on “medical futility” and attended a week-long symposium at the Kennedy Center for Bioethics in Washington, D.C. He was a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the Society of Law, Medicine and Ethics.
Father Kennedy also served as the chairman of the ethics committee at the Jane Phillips medical Center in Bartlesville and served on the Institutional Review Board for St. John Health System as well as their ethics committee.
Father Kennedy is survived by his two brothers: James W. Kennedy, and wife, Sharon, and John W. Kennedy and wife, Donna; four nephews: James, Deryck, Jeremy and Adam, and several great-nieces and nephews.
The Rosary and Visitation for Father Kennedy will take place at 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25, at Holy Family Cathedral, 122 W. 8th St., Tulsa. Funeral Mass will take place at 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, at Holy Family Cathedral, both under the direction of Kennedy Funeral and Cremation Services, Tulsa.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma Priest Retirement Fund, the St. Elizabeth Building Fund, or the American Diabetes Association.