The timber construction industry lost one of its great ones when Bob Kennedy passed away over the summer. Bob was employed as one of our field superintendents.
Bob began his career at the young age of 16 under the tutelage of his father Slim Kennedy. They were employed by Tim Fab Inc. of Clackamas, Oregon. Bob was still in high school when he began building trusses and working on construction sites for Tim Fab.
Bob started with Western Wood Structures in the fall of 1987. The first project he worked on for us was the Nazarene Church in Corvallis, a building that features a VARAX dome over the sanctuary. He proved to be so skilled that our project engineer at the time announced “we will never take another field job again without a Kennedy working on it.”
Bob supervised and worked on many significant jobs for us over the years, too many to name them all. But a few of the more outstanding projects he worked on include:
• The 532’ diameter Superior Dome in Marquette, Michigan
• Alaska Airlines Hangar Truss repairs in Anchorage, Alaska
• The potash storage building in Portland
• Overpeck Park Bridges in Teaneck, New Jersey
• Rancho Murrieta Bridge in Sacramento, CA
• Foothills Trails Bridge in Buckley, WA
Bob assists in setting the Rancho Murieta Bridge
Bob supervises setting of the Foothills Trails Bridge
Bob was sent to Houlton, Maine one summer to supervise the erection of a Pinned Arch Bridge we supplied. He stood on the bank for several hours and watched patiently as the Contractor wrestled with the pin connection. Finally, Bob asked if he could take a closer look. The Contractor used a man lift to raise him to the top of the bridge and within 5 minutes Bob made the connection.
Bob worked coast to coast and traveled where the work took him. During 2013 he spent time in Massachusetts supervising a customer in the assembly of some 120’ long Bowstring trusses used in the roof structure of a new sound studio and made two trips to Alaska to supervise the assembly of some 280’ long trusses. These trusses were used in the construction of a bridge that spans the Placer River on the Kenai Peninsula and Bob had supervised a crew in the fabrication and trial assembly of the trusses here in our yard. In between these trips he took on a post-tensioning project on the Island of Oahu. Upon returning from his assignment in Hawaii, Bob walked into my office and announced “I can now say that I have now worked in all 50 states.”
Bob’s work was his identity. He took pride in what he did and in what he accomplished. He always seemed to draw the toughest assignment. He solved problems that came his way. He was respected by all who knew him including customers and those who had the privilege to work with him and for him. He was teacher and he was an ambassador for our company.
In recent years, Bob acted as superintendent on the construction of some bridges for the City of Bellevue, Washington at Coal Creek and Kelsey Creek Parks. We installed 16 bridges at these parks over a period of years and Bob worked on all of them. The sites were tough and access for equipment was limited. As a tribute to Bob’s dedication and contribution to the industry one of his fellow employees made a plaque in his honor. This plaque will be mounted to the last bridge in Bellevue that Bob worked on.
Slim would be proud.