In this article, you will get all information regarding Community gathers at City Hall vigil to mourn Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy

Mere hours after they received word of his stunning death, local leaders, friends and loved ones of Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy gathered, wept and shared memories in front of City Hall, the iconic structure where John J. Kennedy helped lead the community as a longtime member of its City Council.

Councilman Tyron Hampton, Assemblyman Chris Holden and Tournament of Roses Vice President Craig Washington, who’d known Kennedy since childhood basketball games at the Pasadena YMCA, were a few who came together during a hastily assembled but nonetheless heartfelt memorial.

Related: Pasadena Councilman John J. Kennedy has died 

“I gotta be honest with you. I’m not ready to say too much because this is a grieving moment,” Holden said. “Today, my heart is broken. I don’t know where to draw the words.”

Kennedy, a longtime Pasadena resident with deep ties to the community, died Thursday, according to a city spokeswoman.

Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian confirmed Kennedy’s passing. Neither Kennedy’s age, nor the cause of his death, were known on Thursday.

Kennedy’s death set off waves of mourning in the city among those who knew him, studied with him, worked alongside him or just got to know him in myriad other ways in his beloved hometown.

Others echoed the sentiment from the steps of City Hall where the reminisced on Kennedy’s baritone voice, passionate speeches during Council and larger than life personality that represented Pasadena on a world stage through the city’s Sister Cities program.

To Hampton though, Kennedy was more than a leader. He was a brother.

“And I knew he wasn’t feeling good on Monday,” Hampton said, joking that Kennedy was way too quiet compared to his usual talkative self.

“John would come in and he had a type of energy that rivaled the sun,” and he spoke from his heart with eloquence, Hampton said.

So much so, “you would think did you write that brother,’” Hampton said, drawing a laugh from the crowd. “I go to his house and his house looks like a museum.”

Hampton had to try to laugh “to keep from crying,” he said, “because my best friend, my colleague, passed.”

The community then locked hands and sang just as Kennedy did so many times at church and public events.

“I leaned on John. John leaned on me,” Hampton said, remembering Kennedy as the man he wanted to sit by during his first day on Council — a story that again drew a laugh from the crowd.

“Pasadena has lost a shining star,” Hampton concluded. “But, like I said, we will prevail… and we will continue the efforts of making Pasadena — as John would say — One Pasadena.”

“They don’t make them like that anymore,” said Pastor Kerwin Manning of Pasadena Church. “But we have hope,” so long as the community comes together to support each other in a journey of grief.

“What he’s done for me as an individual has been tremendous,” Washington said. “what he’s done for the city and every individual I think that’s in attendance has been outstanding.”

City Councilman Steve Madison agreed, describing Kennedy as a figure of national renown.

Locals hold hands in prayer during a Vigil for long time Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy who passed away in front of City Hall in Pasadena on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
Locals hold hands in prayer during a Vigil for long time Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy who passed away in front of City Hall in Pasadena on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

In a movie made recently about Michelle Obama, Madison said, “there’s John at the White House front row. I was in his home two years ago and Joe Biden right in his living room.”

Many in Pasadena spent the day in shock over Kennedy’s passing.

“While we are all deeply saddened by the sudden loss of our friend and colleague, John Kennedy, we should always remember and celebrate his many accomplishments and contributions to our city and beyond,” said Mayor Victor Gordo. “John Kennedy loved Pasadena and the people of Pasadena. He worked hard every day to make Pasadena a better place for everyone.”

The mayor added: “He dedicated himself to helping others, and we are all better off because of his efforts. His was a life well-lived.”

“He was a totemic figure in our community,” said James Farr, a Pasadena filmmaker and longtime resident who helped organize the candlelight vigil.

“I considered him a friend, mentor and a political advisor who openly welcomed spirited debates about issues and was not afraid to admit someone else was right and he was wrong,” Farr said. “But he would hold fast when he felt he was right.”

Kennedy was first elected to the council for District 3 in 2013.

He also served on the city’s Finance Committee, was chair of the Public Safety Committee and was one of three representatives from the city to the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority.

Kennedy began his work in politics at a young age as student-body president at Blair High School and then student senator at University of Southern California, from which he earned dual degrees in international relations and economics.

Pastor Kerwin Manning, right, along with Rick Cole, James Farr and Councilman Tyron Hampton hold hands during a moment of prayer for long time Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy who passed away in front of City Hall in Pasadena on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
Pastor Kerwin Manning, right, along with Rick Cole, James Farr and Councilman Tyron Hampton hold hands during a moment of prayer for long time Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy who passed away in front of City Hall in Pasadena on Thursday, July 21, 2022. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

 

Kennedy also earned his Juris Doctor Degree from Howard University School of Law and became the youngest person to serve as president of the Pasadena branch of the NAACP.

Kennedy worked for the city of Pasadena in the finance, city attorney, police and public works departments and has also served on boards such as the Pasadena Police Foundation, Tom Bradley Legacy Foundation at UCLA, Library Task Force for Alternate Funding, the Community Health Alliance of Pasadena, Community Development Committee, and the Developers’ Selection Committee for Heritage Square Senior Housing Development.



Community gathers at City Hall vigil to mourn Pasadena City Councilman John J. Kennedy

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