• Kevin Hessel

Robert and Dawn Kennedy


A long love story has come to an end with the passing of Robert and Dawn Kennedy. Both died peacefully in their home in Tiburon, California, Bob on November 27, 2019 and Dawn just ten days later on December 7. They were married for 60 years. They were born in Illinois and were high school sweethearts, graduating in 1955 from Elgin High School in Illinois. Bob continued his education at Oberlin College and University of Illinois Medical School. Dawn attended Northern Illinois University. They married in 1959.

In 1963, they moved their young family to San Francisco, where Bob would start his internship at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center. He devoted his whole career to Kaiser San Francisco, working there until his retirement in 1996. He was a skilled and compassionate physician and administrator. He specialized in renal disease and established Kaiser’s outpatient dialysis center. He served as Physician in Chief from 1980-1986. Dawn was an educator, teaching in Illinois while Bob was in medical school and then, later in life, at Belvedere-Hawthorne Nursery School in Tiburon. In between teaching jobs, she dedicated herself to volunteerism for a wide variety of causes, including the Reed Union School District, the deYoung Museum, the guilds of Marin and the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society.

Bob was both a scholar and an athlete. He was well read and thoughtful on a wide variety of subjects and provided good counsel to those who sought his support. He was a fixture on the tennis court at the Tiburon Peninsula Club. In his later years, the Marin Country Club became a second home where he played at least three rounds of golf a week. Bob shared with his family his love of camping, hiking and skiing. He had a passion for national parks and planned long summer car trips, taking in as many parks as possible along the way.

Dawn’s strengths included cultivating deep and meaningful relationships. She was a confidant and an advisor to those who needed an empathic listener. Her home became a meeting place for family and friends, who knew that a hearty welcome and warm meal would always be waiting. She and her friends enjoyed hiking clubs, golf and a longstanding book club. Dawn and Bob shared a love of travel, the outdoors and theater; they were life-long season-ticket holders of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco.

Their love for each other, as well as immediate and extended family, is what most defined them. In their Tiburon home, which they built in 1968, they raised two daughters, Sara and Linda, hosted many guests and family events. They loved being parents, but without a doubt, the thing that brought Bob and Dawn the most joy was being grandparents to four very lucky grandchildren.

Bob and Dawn are survived by daughters Sara Jarvis and her husband John, Linda Evans and her husband Joe, and grandchildren Nicole, Danielle, Colin and Maggie. Bob is survived by his sister Katherine Collman and her husband Richard. Dawn is survived by her brother Jerry Mitter and his wife Juanita. Both have many nieces, nephews, cousins and life-long friends who share in this loss. All services will be private.

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