Marion J. Kennedy, 99, died peacefully in her Bernardsville home surrounded by her family
on November 15, 2020. Her husband of fifty-seven years, Thomas G. Kennedy, died in
2003. Marion was the only child of Ernest and Vida May Martin of Lawrence,
At seventeen, Marion began a singing career on the radio where she came to the attention of
Bob Gleason, leader of a big band from the Boston area. He hired her and she became the
vocalist for The Bob Gleason Big Band touring throughout New England. Marion continued
to sing throughout her life, joining the Somerset Hills Chorus shortly after arriving in
Bernardsville, and then singing with a local women’s choir, enjoying the companionship of
friends as well as the music.
Marion met her husband, Tom, while living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan for
Exxon (Esso). They loved to dance and enjoyed the prewar club scene in NYC. After WWII,
they married and settled in Massapequa, Long Island, where they raised their two daughters.
In 1970, Exxon opened offices in Florham Park and Marion and Tom moved to
Bernardsville. She immediately joined the volunteers in the Local History Room of
Bernardsville Library. She chaired the Local History Committee during which time they
published the second addition of “Among the Blue Hills,” a history of Bernardsville. Marion
devoted herself to the League of Women Voters, serving as its president for several years.
She was also a founding member of an investment club.
Marion’s longevity can be attributed to her daily walk, in every weather resolutely logging
her three miles. When asked how long it took her to complete her route, she replied that it
depended upon how many friends she ran into and how long they chatted.
Marion found great delight in caring for her gardens. Her most precious time of day was
early morning, when she would sit in the alcove of her bay window, tea cup in hand, cat by
her side, and watch the sun rise from below distant hills flooding her room with light.
Marion’s home was the source of great love for all her family. It was where holidays and
family events were celebrated.
Marion is survived by her step-brother, Steven James Martin of Florida, her daughters and
their spouses, Kate Kennedy (Karen Slaven) and Pat Kennedy-Grant (Philip), her
grandchildren Jonathan Zwergel, Sara Forsythe (Greg), Justin Kennedy-Grant (Andrea Deal),
Alex Kennedy-Grant (Emily Skillings), and Abigail Kennedy-Grant, and her
great-grandchildren Martin and Joseph Zwergel, Aiden and Laura Forsythe, and Hazel
Due to the coronavirus, a memorial service will be delayed until a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marion’s name to The Foundation Fighting
Blindness https://donate.fightingblindness.org/give, or JDRF (Type 1 diabetes)
https://www.jdrf.org or Bernardsville Public Library Local History Committee, 1 Anderson
Hill Road, Bernardsville 07924.
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Services for Marion Kennedy
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