Barbara Ann Kennedy, age 82, of Elgin, IL, quietly transitioned from this life at Rosewood Care Center of Elgin on November 12, 2016. Barbara was born in Elgin on May 10, 1934, to her loving parents, Daniel and Mildred (Harding) Broadnax. Her family was one of the first African-American families to settle in Elgin.

She received her education at Elgin High School, Class of 1952, where she was the first African-American student to play (trombone) in the high school band. She married Al Kennedy, Sr. on February 11, 1952.

In her early years, Barbara worked at Haeger Potteries and served as a secretary at the Elgin YWCA. For the past thirty years, she was a devoted personal assistant to Attorney and Mrs. George Carbary of Elgin.  She was one of the founding members of New Hope Baptist Church of Elgin and served on their Usher Board for some thirty years.

Barbara had a beautiful smile that would light up a room, a gentle spirit, quick wit, and generous heart that will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.  She loved her Chicago Bears, Cubs and Bulls sports teams, and she enjoyed going to the movies with family and friends. For several years she enjoyed bowling with the Elgin Tri-City Mixed Bowling League, traveling to various cities and states to show off her talent, and earned numerous trophies and awards for her skill. Mostly she will be remembered for her endless love of sewing and tailoring for various community members, and her children will dearly miss “Mom’s Thanksgiving turkey and dressing dinners” and her delicious Christmas cookies.

Barbara was preceded in death by her daughter Dena Kennedy, her six brothers, Daniel “Murf” Jr., Orva, Leroy, Richard, Morgan “Ted,” and Wendell Broadnax; four sisters, Bernadean and Janice Broadnax, Mildred (Bettye) Lewis and Eunice Andrews; two grandsons, Terrence Devon Kennedy and Mister J. D. McClelland; and one great-grandson, JuJuan McClelland.

Barbara’s memories will be forever in the hearts of her children, Alvin Kennedy, Jr., Glendale, AZ, Denise (James) Gordon, Chicago, IL, Sheila Kennedy, Elgin, and Ronald Kennedy, North Chicago, IL; her two brothers, Earnest (Eliza) Broadnax, Elgin, IL and Lester (Rubye) Broadnax, Hanover Park, IL; her two sisters, Arlene Spann and Gloria (Jesse) Rayner, Elgin; her eight grandchildren, Terrence Kennedy and Corey Isbell, Elgin, Shaundeise Hinton, Hampshire, IL,  Melissa (Aaron) Chambers, Ft. Hood, TX, Roden Wade Jr.,  Miamisburg, OH, Darien Kennedy, Hanover Park, IL,  Domenique Wade and Ki’Ana McClelland, both of Carpentersville, IL,; fourteen great-grandchildren, a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins, and her loving and devoted friends Bessie Carter of Elgin and Gloria Cowherd of South Elgin.

Services and interment will be private. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the staff of Vitas Hospice for their compassionate care of “our dear Mother”.

Arrangements are entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home, 305 Park St, Elgin. For more information call 847-741-1128 or visit

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