Maura Rose Kennedy
Maura Rose Kennedy shed her mortal body and left the f*cking cancer behind on Saturday evening, August 18, 2018. Words on paper cannot fully describe the abundant love and affection Maura had for life, family, friends and her students. Maura loved with enthusiasm and dedication and leaves a void in many lives and fond memories too numerous to count. Her strong will to live, faith in God, love of her daughter Becca and the unwavering prayers of family, friends and many supporters carried her through treatments. Yet even throughout her own struggle with cancer, she reached out and encouraged others to live life and go on adventures.
Born on October 15, 1956 in Chicago, Illinois. Her family moved to Santa Barbara in September 1957 and she lived here ever since. A student at Dolores School, Bishop High School, Santa Barbara City College, UCSB and Cal Lutheran University, Maura achieved a Masters Degree in Education and enjoyed a long and fruitful career at Santa Barbara County Education and the Santa Barbara Unified School District investing her life and focusing her talents on teaching students in her special education classes. As half of the powerful m&m team with Mary Gibson, Maura always focused on her students’ abilities rather than their disabilities and designed an ability awareness program and a buddy program at Hollister School.
Maura met Rebecca in 1993 and fell in love with her, choosing to adopt Rebecca as her daughter in 2003. Together, Becca and Maura became a dynamic duo known far and wide in special education circles and Special Olympics.
Maura is predeceased by her parents Leo and Rosemary Kennedy and will be sadly missed by her siblings, Leo (Sue), Brian (Sharon), Duff (Tessa) Terrence (Moira) and Sheila Maeve (Keith). In addition, Aunt MoMo has left a legacy through Sean (Kizzy), Margie, Deirdre and Fiona Kennedy, Megan Kennedy Nemeth and Bodie and Zoe Nemeth, Carey Fanning as well as numerous cousins and Godchildren.
Maura had a wanderlust for travel and spent many happy summers on “road trips” across the United States. She also enjoyed many holidays in Ireland. She masterminded numerous family holidays to Ireland coordinating accommodations in thatched cottages, manor houses and castles and ensuring that all the details were taken care of for the family.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Maura Palooza fund through Alpha Resource Center. This fund will be used for events at Alpha Resource Center representing Maura’s larger than life appreciation of opportunities for lifelong learning and a good party. Alpha Resource Center empowers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. https://alphasb.org/donate.
Maura’s family would like to express their gratitude to Dr. Margaret Ray for her care of Maura during their 22 year friendship. Thanks and appreciation are also sent out to Dr. Barbara Matthews, Dr. William Hogan, members of the Palliative Care Team, the special nursing staff at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital’s Oncology Unit and Infusion Suite, Hospice of Santa Barbara and Dream Foundation for their excellent work and loving care of Maura.
A celebration of Maura’s life will take place on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 2:00pm at Alpha Resource Center, 4501 Cathedral Oaks Road | Santa Barbara CA 93110. At the ceremony there will be an opportunity to share memories of Maura.