About Larry C. Kennedy

  • Larry C. Kennedy was a WWII veteran and prisoner of war. He was a B-24 bomber pilot and his plane was shot down over Naples, Italy, where he was one of 1200 soldiers who spent 29 months in a POW camp in Italy and then Germany. His heroics were told by his friend and fellow POW David Westheimer, who wrote a best-selling book about his life called Von Ryans Express that was later adapted into a movie with the character based on Kennedy played by Frank Sinatra. In the book, Von Ryan helps British and American soldiers escape a cattle car headed to a German camp and instead finds safety in Switzerland.

    Before his time in the military, Mr. Kennedy was a private commercial pilot but after completing his military duty he decided to leave flying and dedicate his time to teaching children in the Creighton School District where he lived. He later became the principal of Lafayette School, where he served for a number of years until his sudden death in 1980. After he passed away, the State Superintendent at the time, Carolyn Warner, led the surrounding community to gain support in naming the school Larry C. Kennedy.

    Mr Kennedy was beloved by his students, staff and the community. He is survived by his two daughters, Ruth Anne and Laurette, as well as his son, Keith Kennedy. His children carried on his legacy of education and public service and are still active in the Phoenix community. 

    Read more about it in this article from the Arizona Republic from 1965.