Remembering Brother Frank Kennedy

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It is with sadness that the ILWU Canada acknowledges the passing of Brother Frank Kennedy, a former Secretary Treasurer to the ILWU Canadian Area. Brother Kennedy was born on May 3rd, 1928 in Oak Ridges, Ontario, and passed in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 18th, 2012.

Frank Kennedy began longshoring in 1951, eventually becoming a member of Local 509 after a membership vote changed the affiliation from ILA to ILWU. During his membership with ILWU Local 509 he was elected to many positions and worked to bring about the amalgamation of the Vancouver locals into what we now know as Local 500. Brother Kennedy was then elected the first Vice President of Local 500, and at one time served a term as the President of Local 500.

In the 1960’s Frank Kennedy was elected Secretary Treasurer of the ILWU Canadian Area, and served that office for the majority of years until the 1980’s. He also served two terms as a Union Trustee of the Pension and Welfare plans.

In addition, Frank Kennedy was also prominent in other areas of the labour movement. He was elected Canada’s representative on the International Executive Board. He also took leave from ILWU Canada in order to pursue a full time elected position as Secretary Treasurer to the Vancouver and District Labour Council. Brother Kennedy was the founding President of COPE (The Committee of Progressive Electors), and the founding Chair of EAR (End the Arms Race) Committee. Representing the ILWU Canada, he was a Director of B.C. FORUM (British Columbia Federation of Labour Committee for Retired Union Members). Frank received an appointment by the CLC, and an endorsement by the Federal Government as a worker’s representative on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, and lastly, was narrowly defeated in his run for President of the BC Federation of Labour.

On behalf of the Officers, staff and membership of the ILWU Canada, we wish to send our condolences to Frank Kennedy’s family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

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Showing 8 comments
  • Yvonne Nasby

    An extraordinary man. An honor to know you Frank. Thank you for all you did for so many.

  • Mike Adams

    I have never been touched so by a man I never had the privilege of getting to know enough about.
    You will be dearly missed by all who knew or knew of you.
    Soar with the angels brother

    • Gail Adams

      You were such a huge part of my young adult life, you taught me so much. You were a wonderful parent, a great grand father and father in law. I am so lucky to have had you in my life. I will miss you.

  • Brian Smith

    Reading the accomplishments Frank achieved I know that everyone in the ILWU has to be thankful for the hard work and commitment made by this individual. We don’t always see the results directly attributed to ones hard work and unending effort, but it does live on.

  • Steve

    Thanks for everything Frank. An honour to know you.

  • Glenn G. McGee

    Frank Kennedy, you were a true oak of a man. Your roots were deep and your branches were many and far reaching. On the occasions I had the immense pleasure of hearing you speak, it was always inspiring. Though, I did not know you well, Iam ever grateful that I did know you. Thank you, for all that you did for labour and for the ILWU in particular. When I asked you a question once, about a challenging scenario that was facing some of us in Local 500, you looked at me with those wise eyes of yours and said: ” Everything has a way of working out. ” You showed us the way, by being the briliance that you were. May peace and love surround you always. You shall live on in the hearts and memories of all who knew you. My deepest, heartfelt condolences to your family, loved ones and friends.

  • Bill Duncan, President Van-Isle ILWU Pensioners Club

    Tribute to a Great Labour Leader
    It is with a sad heart that I pass on the news of the passing of Frank Kennedy. Frank was very active not only with the ILWU and the Labour movement. but was very active in Civil rights in BC and Canada.
    I first met Frank in the early seventies when I started to get involved in my local. Frank was like a human encyclopedia on the labour movement. If you wanted to know anything about Labour, Frank was the go to Man. I loved Frank as a Brother and will miss him. I know many others will feel the same way. A Memorial Service will be held at the Maritime Center in the next 7-10 days.
    This is a post I had in the Van-Isle ILWU Pensioners Club Newsletter Feb.21/12

  • bali dhillon

    R.I.P Mr.Frank Kenndy