|The 5 Bell Boys - Billy, Rodney, Kenny, Alan & Ron|
It seemed that almost every time we saw each other at family reunions or gatherings during the next few decades we renewed our argument about the turret or tower. There was also a lot of hugs, joking and conversation. There were also more than a few phone calls that lasted over an hour. Both of us reminiscing about the past and talking about our families. We had that cousinly bond…but it was much more. I always got off the phone reminded at how deeply Kenny loved his wife, his children and grandchildren. The bond with his brothers was always there as well as that with his nieces and nephews.
|Johnson's at Dad's 50th birthday - 1990|
|Tommy, David, Kenny & KC - Cousins|
|Kenny with Chris Johnson|
|Left to Right - Billy, Rod, Kenny & Ron|
When my mother died, one of the first phone calls I got was from Kenny. I can’t remember exactly…but I think he couldn’t make it to the service. It just about broke his heart because he adored my Mom – and it was definitely reciprocated. I remember seeing Kenny during the next several years and he was almost always taking care of someone. Sometimes it was his Dad or Mom or our Grandmother. Despite Kenny being such a jokester, he had a caring heart and he used humor to offset tension. There is no question that at times, it was inappropriate…but there was an expression used in our family – “it was just Kenny!” When Kenny’s Dad died, he asked me to read something for he and his brothers. He knew that he was asking me to do something that would be hard for me to do – but he asked me because he trusted me to do it the way he wanted.
Kenny passed away on Sunday, January 6. When I heard the news from his mother, I had to sit there for a while with tears rolling down my face. I was never going to get that big bear hug again or hear his teasing. Kenny left a wonderful legacy! There is not one person who will ever forget him who knew him. His brothers will always tell stories about the trouble they got into…his nieces and nephews will always have a story about something stupid that Kenny taught them to do. Kenny leaves behind a loving wife and adoring children and grandchildren, a mother and brothers and their families who will do their best to continue to keep Kenny present. There is also is his extended family. We have been blessed with a large family, but it is so hard to lose someone who was so beloved. For as long as anyone is alive who knew Kenny – there will be a funny story and knowing Kenny that is exactly what he would have wanted.