Tributes paid to Joe Kennedy, one of Manchester’s best-known businessmen and philanthropists

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Joe Kennedy, one of Manchester’s best-known businessmen and philanthropists, has died at the age of 86.

A father of seven and wife to Kathleen for 62 years, Joe lived for many years in the Altrincham area.

He died peacefully surrounded by his family in Menorca on June 22nd.

Born in 1936 in New York and raised in County Mayo, Joe moved to England as a 16-year-old in 1953, initially working as a farm labourer before moving to London and then Manchester.

In 1959 he set up his construction business, J Kennedy & Co Ltd, in Manchester, eventually expanding it across the UK and into the Middle East and America.

At one point the company employed 800 staff, and after selling it in 1997 he dedicated much of the rest of his life to supporting hundreds of causes worldwide through his Kennedy Charitable Foundation.

His work saw him honoured with the Manchester Mayo Association Award and was also presented with the Knight of St Gregory Award by Pope John Paul II.

Writing a foreword to his 2014 memoir On the Strength of a Ten Bob Note, former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said of Joe’s charity work: “I always admire people who understand the luxury of their life, want to look after their family and then donate tremendous amounts to chairty.

“Joe has been a great donor to many charities, particularly in the Manchester area, and the satisfaction for him is that many years ago he was in the same situation as a lot of the people he has helped out over the years.”

Joe also played a key role in the Northern Ireland Peace Process and was Honorary President and a former Chairman of Ireland West Airport.

In a statement, the airport described him as one of the “most respected and renowned businessmen to come from Mayo”.

“The airport is forever grateful to Joe for his leadership, guidance and support for the airport over the last twenty years.”

Father of seven – to John, Patrick, Eamonn, Michael, Paul, Anna-Maria and Catherine – Joe also had 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

His son, John, told us: “We are truly humbled by the kind and loving tributes shown to all the family at dad’s passing. We are hugely appreciative and thankful to everyone.”

Joe’s funeral will take place at 11am on Friday July 22nd at St Vincent’s RC Church in Altrincham. Anyone wishing to attend is advised to arrive early and, if possible, by public transport.

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