Beverlee Gwendolyn Kennedy was born on June 29, 1926 to Arvid Myron and Lola Muriel (McKinley) Sturdevant in Houston, Texas. Her family moved to Ashland, Nebraska and Brookings, South Dakota before moving to Pipestone in 1932. In her youth she rode her bike to the swimming pool whenever she could. She was about eight years old when she started wrapping the windings on magnetos for her dad at the shop. She was baptized on March 30, 1941 and confirmed on April 6, 1941 at the Methodist Church in Pipestone, Minnesota. She attended Pipestone Elementary and High School with two other Beverlys, which is why her name is spelled Beverlee. During her high school years, she worked at the Eagle Café in Pipestone. After graduating high school in 1944, she went to Telegraphy School in Crawfordsville, Indiana and worked in Sisseton and Lead, South Dakota to save up for college. She then went on to the U of M, St. Paul Campus where she studied Industrial Foods to teach Home Economics. She met the love of her life Joe, when he stopped by Sturdevant’s to see if she needed a ride to the U of M. On March 21, 1947 she was united in marriage to Joseph “Joe” Donald Kennedy at the First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone. During the early years of their marriage she worked at a bank in Pipestone. During their daughter, Heather Ann’s younger years Bev was a stay at home Mom. Later, she worked at Sturdevant’s as a bookkeeper. After Joe passed away in 1975, she continued to work at Sturdevant’s, traveled, and was active in contributing to her community. Beverlee retired in 2000 and decided to move into Ridge View Estates in 2002. She enjoyed making friends through the many seasons of life. In October 2020 she entered the care of the Pipestone County Hospice House in Pipestone and died peacefully there on Tuesday, November 24, 2020 at the age of 94 years, four months, and 26 days.
Bev was a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Pipestone where she taught Sunday School, was a Deacon and Elder, and participated in many Bible Studies. She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and was the secretary treasurer, vice president, and president. She was also a member of the Extension Homemaker Club, Eastern Star, Investment Club, Historic Pipestone, and Pipestone Historical Society, of which she was very active in each organization. Beverlee didn’t have any problem filling her spare time. She loved to bake, bowl, watch the Vikings, Twins, and Gophers, read, knit, play cards and dominoes. She also loved to sit and play cribbage with Joe when they were first married. She and Joe had a special sort of relationship; she loved to dance with him as her partner and enjoyed the time spent at home with him, as he didn’t care to travel. After Joe’s death, Bev was able to do a lot of traveling with her friend, Mary Kay Coughlin from Rapid City, South Dakota. They went to the Panama Canal, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Ireland, Scotland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Poland, the Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda, all 50 states, and her favorite, Australia! Later in life she traveled with Heather Ann and Mallory on Mississippi River Boat cruises.
Beverlee was an independent, tenacious, straightforward, and sometimes stubborn lady. But, if you knew Bev you also knew that she was a kind, generous, and caring woman whose family held a very treasured place in her heart. She loved being with them, whether it was at a sit down restaurant or on a drive to look at Christmas lights. She would say that when she drove the car it went nice and slow, but when grandson Joe or Bruce drove it could not go slow enough. She loved to receive hugs, and loved just as much, or more, to give them out. She was a great supporter of her grandkids, and they were so glad to see her present at their different events.
Bev is lovingly remembered by her daughter, Heather (Bruce) Johnson of Upsala, Minnesota; two grandchildren, Joseph (Jessica) Johnson of Upsala, and Mallory Johnson of Billings, Montana; two great-grandchildren, Autumn Aurora and Jorgen Jeremiah Johnson; one sister-in-law, Toddy Sturdevant of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Joe; her parents; grandchildren, Kirstin Rose and Luke Richard Johnson; one brother, Jack C. Sturdevant; one brother-in-law, Charles “Chuck” Kennedy; and sister-in-law, Blanche Kennedy.