Gilmer Free Press
Normantown High School 2012 Alumnus of the Year
Saturday, May 26, 2012, the Normantown High School Alumni Association in session for their annual meeting selected Billy Neal Kennedy as the 2012 Alumnus of the Year.
Known as “Bill” by most people, he graduated in 1954. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the Air Force and served our country for four years. While in the Air Force, he very successfully played on the Air Force Basketball Team, a sport at which he excelled while at Normantown High School.
Upon conclusion of his service to our country, he came home and became involved in racing motor cycles and established a motor cycle shop for repairs and sales in Elyria Ohio. He even designed and produced his own motor cycle, and named it the American. The Shop has grown and operated for 52 years and is currently operated by his daughter, Linda.
Simultaneously this individual became involved in oil and gas exploration and production in Gilmer and surrounding counties and spent 45 years in this business.
Throughout these two career involvements, he employed many workers who speak highly of him referring to him as operating like a head of a family, like a father who takes good care of the family members.
It is interesting to note that Bill is honored by the Motor Cycle Association by having his picture located on the Wall of Fame in down town Daytona Beach because of his successful involvement in motor cycle business and racing.
Bill married Joan Boan and together they reared three children, one daughter, Linda, and two sons, Mark and Billy.
The Kennedy’s have twelve grandchildren. Tremendous love and appreciation for each other exists in this family.
Bill and Joan are deeply religious and personally involved in their church, the Liberty Independent Baptist Church where they currently live in Glenwood, Florida. They are supportive in both monetary and personal support.
One person who nominated Bill Kennedy referred to him as a humanitarian because of the many good deeds he had done.
He is a strong believer in young people acquiring a quality education and gave his support to the Scholarship Committee in the establishment of the Normantown High School Alumni Scholarship Program. Since 1988, this program has awarded 316 scholarships totaling $231,419.00 to students living in the Normantown attendance area. Bill has made many major financial contributions to it.
In addition he has actively served twelve years as chair of the Alumnus of the Year Committee, a position he relinquished last year because of illness.
The presenter related that this graduate of Normantown High School has a very deep abiding love for Normantown High School, its graduates and the Normantown High School Alumni Association. He is a faithful attendee at reunions and is always willing to do anything to help the association.
At one point when the Gilmer County Board of Education was considering what to do with the Normantown High School building because of certain health hazards, he offered to personally fund the complete renovation of one room of the school on behalf of the class of 1954 and challenged other graduates to do the same for their class. Needless to say this proposal fell on deaf ears at the Board of Education level.
Bill was unable to attend the meeting to receive this prestigious award due to heart surgery performed on him May 22, 2012.
Gary G. Smith, chair of the committee presented the award to his sister in law, Mrs. Rodney Moss, of Cedarville, WV.