DUNROBIN – It was a birthday for a man who has seen a lot over his years. And wrote about it. And even pitched in.
George Kennedy turned 91 Sunday (Sept. 20).
“All you people out there, I used to plow that,” Kennedy told the group of family, friends and even a special appearance by the Dunrobin and District Women’s Institute, gathered on his backyard just off Greenland Road.
They were there to celebrate the birth of a man who has always been a leader in his community and good friend to all West Carleton.
Kennedy is a big fan of writing and feels its important to keep a document of the history of his community. To that end, he wrote a 40-page memoir filled with stories and photos of his life titled My Memories of a Life Lived Across the Creek. He dedicated it to his many grandchildren.
“I wrote a story for my grandkids because they didn’t know what it was like growing up here,” Kennedy told West Carleton Online from his back porch. “I used to know everyone in Fitzroy Harbour. I knew the names of their horses, their dogs.”
His book chronicles his life memories from the time he was two-years-old in 1931 (and a bit earlier from some of the photos) until “I met Ruthie on May 20, 1952. From then on, it will be us.”
He published the memoir in 2009. During that time, Kennedy was very involved in the community.
Kennedy was the Carp Fair president in 1960; a school board trustee in the 1970s; serving on Torbolton Township Council before amalgamation in the 1980s (“I wondered if my presence led them to being gobbled up, so I never got involved in politics again.”); president of the Dunrobin Community Association and the Torbolton Historical Society; and Master of Carleton Lodge of the Shriner’s Club, to name a few.
“It seems to be getting harder all the time to get volunteers to take these positions,” Kennedy wrote in his memoir. “People seem to be too involved in private life to spare some time for their community. Too bad.”
While the memoir was completed in 2009, Kennedy still writes on occasion. Kennedy is a part-time contributor to West Carleton Online publishing two columns on some important historic landmarks in the Dunrobin area.
On March 23, he shared the story of the Dunrobin Bridge which he and members of his family worked on in the early 20th century. On July 7, Kennedy wrote on his memories of the Younghusband General Store.
But on Sunday, it was West Carleton Online documenting the memory of his 91st birthday. It was held in two parts to accommodate safety procedures surrounding COVID-19. There was cake and balloons and smiles all around. And of course, copies of Kennedy’s memoirs.
“I hope this epistle will be of some interest to my family,” he wrote. “I’ve had lots of fun writing it, and I just hope someone will be able to read it.”