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BIOGRAPHY

Kennedy was born as Jeannette Cecilia Simard in Frenchtown, Montana, on 6 January 1891. She was the youngest of nine children born to French-Canadian immigrants Joseph and Nellie Simard. None of her siblings reached the age of 80. When she was 10, her family moved to the Yellowstone Valley, traveling in a group of four covered wagons. During the journey, she was almost killed by a stampeding herd of cattle. Author Elliot Paul, who knew the Simard family, wrote about Kennedy in his 1948 book titled A Ghost Town on the Yellowstone: “Being the darling of a large jolly French family, Jeannette had never been lonely. Frail and ephemeral as she looked, she could ride almost as well as Mexican Joe, and more than once had won local races at Sidney, astride the spirited Simard stallion, a fleet sorrel named Napoleon”. She attended high school at Sacred Heart Academy in Missoula, with her daily commute requiring her to travel across the mountains.

Kennedy married her husband, Edward Reynolds Kennedy, on 17 January 1912, in the middle of the winter season in Montana when the temperature was reportedly -54 degrees Fahrenheit. They had two sons, Bernard and Edward Jr., both of whom outlived their mother. The couple ran a drug store and wholesale business after relocating to North Dakota. Kennedy was widowed in 1960. In 1963, she moved to Dickinson, North Dakota, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

At the time of her 100th birthday in 1990, Kennedy lived in an apartment across the driveway from her son and daughter-in-law, where she continued to live until shortly before her 108th birthday in 1999. She enjoyed reading the newspaper and watching TV, and attributed her longevity to love, prayer, and her Roman Catholic faith.

Kennedy died in Dickinson, North Dakota, on 16 August 2001 at the age of 110 years, 222 days. In addition to her two sons, she was survived by five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson.

RECOGNITION

Kennedy’s age was verified by Anson Davis, Gabriel Ainsworth, and Jimmy Lindberg, and was validated by LongeviQuest on 20 March 2024.

ATTRIBUTION

* “Jeannette Kennedy is 100 today” – The Bismarck Tribune, 2 September 1990

* “Dickinson woman stays active as she turns 108” – The Bismarck Tribune, 8 January 1990

* “Looking ahead to a third century” – The Bismarck Tribune, 1 January 2000

* “Jeannette Kennedy, 110-year-old resident of Dickinson, dies” – The Bismarck Tribune, 8 August 2001

GALLERY

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