David J. Kennedy, the retired co-founder of Kennedy & Graven died of cancer on May 10, 2009. He will be remembered for his Irish charm, his gentle manner, and his excellence as a lawyer and adviser.
Dave graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1953 and then served as a naval aviator and later retired from the Naval Reserve. Dave received his law degree from the University of Minnesota law school in 1960. While in law school, Dave started his life-long love affair with municipal law as a research assistant with the League of Municipalities (now known as the League of Minnesota Cities).
From 1960-1967, Dave served as a staff attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities, Director of the Minnesota Office of Local and Urban Affairs, and Assistant Senate Counsel for the Minnesota State Senate.
In 1972, Dave joined the law firm of Lefler, Kennedy, O’Brien, and Drawz. Dave became the preeminent public finance lawyer in the state, and in 1989 merged the municipal law and public finance practices of that firm with Kennedy & Graven.
In addition to Dave’s public finance work, he was the City Attorney for the cities of Crystal and Sandstone. In his later years, Dave was considered to be the dean of public finance law in the state of Minnesota. Just this month, Dave was awarded the Douglas K. Amdahl Career Achievement Award by the Public Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association.
Dave also donated significant time to assist non-profit organizations. He served for many years on the board of trustees of Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), a national nonprofit based in Minneapolis that supplies capital to local community development organizations. With Dave’s help, CRF has provided millions of dollars to finance affordable housing, community facilities, and small business development in Minnesota and across the nation. Dave also served on the board of (and helped found) the Caponi Art Park and Learning Center, a unique 60-acre park in Eagan, Minnesota that opened in 1987. The park is the legacy of sculptor Anthony Caponi, who developed the facility as a way to both preserve a significant site within the urban area and integrate learning about the arts and the environment
Aside from his distinguished legal career, Dave was widely known and admired for his fine wit, generosity, and kindness.
Dave is survived by his wife of 55 years, Mitzi, and five children.