Charles F. Kennedy III, a life-long resident of Van Wert and son of the late Edward Kennedy and LuVerne Kennedy, passed away on September 7. He was a 1966 graduate of Van Wert High School and was engaged in private law practice in Van Wert from 1979 to June 2009.
Kennedy was the Van Wert County Prosecuting Attorney from 1989 to 2017. In addition, he served on various boards and committees throughout his career, including the Peoples Bank & Trust Company and Wells Fargo Bank Board of Directors.
A June 1970 graduate of Bowling Green State University, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in history and political science. Upon graduation, Kennedy was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia where he was trained as an infantry officer and in the Ranger, Airborne (parachute) and Jumpmaster Schools.
During 1972 he was assigned as an infantry platoon leader to the 7th U.S. Cavalry in Vietnam, the last American ground combat unit in Vietnam, and also spent five months as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army. He received a Bronze Star as a result of his service in Vietnam as well as the Combat Infantry Badge. Kennedy later joined the U.S. Army Reserve as a member of the Judge Advocate General Corps. He was recalled to active duty during "Operation Desert Storm." Kennedy's assignments as a legal officer took him back to Fort Benning and included assignments to Panama, Korea, and Italy. Kennedy retired from the Army Reserve in January of 2006 with the rank of Colonel.
During Kennedy's 27 years as Prosecutor his office opened and handled over 4,100 criminal files and 5,000 juvenile files. Kennedy himself successfully prosecuted many cases ranging from simple thefts to murder. In addition to criminal work, Kennedy, as the Prosecuting Attorney, was the legal advisor to all county elected officials and most appointed county board members.
On the community level, Prosecutor Kennedy was a member of the First Presbyterian Church, Elks Lodge 1197, American Legion Post 178, and VFW Post 5803. Kennedy was a past member of the former Kiwanis Club, where he served as President, and the Van Wert Rotary Club. He was also a member of the Van Wert County, Ohio, and National Bar Associations.
Prosecutor Kennedy was married for fifty-five years to the former Janie Elder, daughter of Jean Elder Weaver and the late Hugh Elder, a farmer and former Pleasant Township Trustee. They have three grown children, Jill (Doug) Groves, of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Tyson (Carrie) Kennedy, of Ostrander, Ohio, and Mike (Dawn) Kennedy, of Van Wert. He was a grandfather to Chelsea, Morgan, Kevin, Patrick, Scott, Katie, and Brooklyn, and great-grandfather to Alex, Vanessa, and Enzo. He is also survived by two brothers, Jim Kennedy of Middle Point, Ohio and Pat Kennedy of Wisconsin, and a sister, Nancy (Tom) Lautzenheiser of Van Wert, Ohio.
Memorial services will be held at 10:30 am, Tuesday, September 13, 2022 at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory, Van Wert, with Rev Stuart Wyatt, officiating. Burial will immediately follow in Woodland Cemetery, Van Wert, with military services rendered by Van Wert VFW and American Legion.
Visitation will be 2:00-6:00 pm on Monday, September 12, 2022 at the funeral home.
online condolences can be expressed at www.alspachgearhart.com.
Arrangements are being handled by Alspach- Gearhart funeral home, Van Wert, Ohio