Sanibel Sea School marked the dedication of its original Flagship Campus building in memory of Richard C. “Dick” Kennedy with a celebration of his life on Saturday, December 10th, 2016. Friends and family gathered around the building, located at 414 Lagoon Drive on Sanibel, to share memories of Kennedy and pay tribute to him for his many contributions to our island community.
Kennedy, a winter resident of Sanibel whose family founded the Kieve-Wavus Camp and Leadership School in Maine, had a passion for helping children develop the confidence necessary to succeed. “Dick came to us soon after Sanibel Sea School was founded and offered to help,” said Dr. Bruce Neill, Executive Director and co-founder of the organization. “He offered support and advice, and adamantly insisted that we succeed. We would not be where we are today if he had not shared his wisdom and experience with us.” Kennedy and his wife, Nancy, also lovingly provided housing, home-cooked meals, and emotional support to many young Sanibel Sea School staff members as they experienced living and working on their own for the first time.
Shortly before his death in June of 2016, the trustees of Sanibel Sea School voted unanimously to honor him with the naming of the nonprofit’s original building, where its educational programs and summer camps are held. It will be called The Richard C. Kennedy Building – The Heart of Sanibel Sea School. Two hand-painted signs were installed over the main entrances and an additional outdoor sign will be installed in the coming weeks.
At the dedication, a number of close friends and family members spoke in his honor, including Neill, his wife and Sanibel Sea School co-founder, Evelyn, Dick’s son, Henry Kennedy, and Dick’s wife, Nancy Kennedy. They were joined by Chip Roach, a Sanibel Sea School Board member and close friend of Kennedy, and Rev. Dr. Ellen Sloan, the rector at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, where Dick and Nancy have attended services for many years. “This building, with its creaky floors and sandy buckets, perfectly captures Dick’s spirit and his desire to help kids discover their potential,” said Neill.
Sanibel Sea School is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the ocean’s future, one person at a time. To learn more, visit www.sanibelseaschool.org.