Sullivan County Democrat
O n l i n e  E d i t i o n National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
  SPORTS ARCHIVES Established 1891 Callicoon, New York  
home  |  archives

Democrat Photo by Frank Rizzo

MEMORIAL TO DAD: Three of Ed Kennedy’s sons stand in front of their father’s monument at Monticello HS as they listen to brother Pat (out of the picture) make a few comments. They are, from the left: Michael, Kevin, and Edward Jr.

Kennedy Memorial Unveiled

By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — July 4, 2000 -- To have known, worked and played for, or have been taught by Edward R. Kennedy Sr. must have left an imprint, judging by the turnout at the dedication ceremony on Memorial Day weekend at the Monticello high School athletic fields.
The occasion was the naming of the athletic fields after and unveiling a monument in honor of Kennedy (1931-1998), who served the Monticello School District as teacher, coach, and athletic director from 1956-1986.
One by one, speakers stepped up and described a person who, in the words of Kennedy’s successor as athletic director, Ken Garry, “was a very important man in our lives.”
“We were most fortunate that Ed returned to teach here. The people he touched clearly remember how he shaped their lives,” noted Monticello Superintendent of Schools Eileen Casey. “In his quiet and unassuming manner he touched the heart of the community.”
Monticello Board of Education member Robert Rosengard recalled Kennedy as “[understanding] that the desire to win must be tempered by the need to be a good human being. He never lost sight of his purpose… [he knew] how much more important character is than winning.”
Harold Diamond, a colleague of Kennedy’s, remarked that “when [Kennedy] retired we at Monticello High School were poorer for his leaving… now the world is poorer for his leaving.”
Armand Seibert, who retired from the Monticello HS phys ed department several years ago, was hired by Kennedy.
Seibert emphasized his former boss’ artistic abilities, noting that Kennedy “gave me a carving I love the most.”
It is a fantastically detailed model of an Irish pub, inscribed “Seibert’s Pub.”
Peter VanEtten, who like Seibert was a member of the Ed Kennedy Memorial Committee which raised funds and helped plan the monument, said he was “asked to speak on behalf of all the students whom Ed taught and coached… He was a great coach. He gave us vision, and he gave us guidance.”
VanEtten began his speech with a comment that reflected another of his former coach’s qualities — humor.
“If I appear nervous,” VanEtten announced, “it’s not because of the fear of public speaking, but because of all the educators out here critiquing my speech.”
Patrick Kennedy, who followed his father into the education field and now holds the position of athletic director at Middletown HS, spoke for the Kennedy family.
“Dad would have been proud of the artistry of this monument,” said Kennedy, a 1979 graduate of Monticello HS.
Kennedy remarked, “Our father relished the victories, but he had people foremost in his mind. Play hard, play fair, and keep your head up.”
County Clerk George Cooke played basketball and baseball as a freshman for Kennedy in 1956.
“He was strong on fundamentals. He cared about what kind of life you lived — on the court and in your life,” Cooke recalled.
Mike Bernstein of Monticello was Kennedy’s charge from 1961-65, and played soccer, track, and baseball.
“Ed was my idol, my model,” Bernstein praised. “Without a doubt he was the fairest person I ever knew, with the unique ability to communicate with high school athletes.”

top of page  |  home  |  archives