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170731 July 31, 2017


Cherie East Kennedy
LHS '66
April 5, 1948 - July 27, 2017

    Cherie East Kennedy, 69 of Huntsville, AL passed away on Thursday, July 27, 2017 with her family by her side. Cherie was born on April 5, 1948 in Huntsville, AL to the late James "Jimmy" C. East & Virginia "Jean" East. She was a member of Chase Missionary Baptist Church. Ms. Kennedy was the former owner of Garden of Eden Florist. She worked for Alabama Propane for 20 years. She was also a member of Alabama Game Breeders Association. Cherie was an avid Alabama fan. She was a loving mother, grandmother and sister. Cherie was preceded in death by her parents; husband, William Lee Kennedy. She is survived by her daughter, Candy Kennedy McCain (Barry) of New Market, AL; son, Trone Lee Kennedy (Laura) of Huntsville, AL; four grandchildren, Paige, Courtnie and Taylor Kennedy, Dylan McCain (Holli); three great grandchildren, Bentlee, Hayslee, Kynslee; one sister, Janus Hardin and one brother, Little Jim East. You may visit with the family on Saturday, July 29, 2017 from 6:00pm until 8:00pm at Valhalla Funeral Home. Funeral Services, conducted by Rev. Larry Johnson will be on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at 2:00pm in Valhalla's Chapel. Interment will immediately follow at Valhalla Memory Gardens in the Chapel Garden.

        Memphis, TN -  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Cherie East Kennedy. It is sad to lose another classmate.

    Every year in the end of July I always think back about my trip to the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1960. That was the summer before I started at Lee, joining the ninth grade class on our journey to become a full-fledged high school. I cannot begin to imagine what my life would have held had I continued on at Huntsville Junior High and graduated from Huntsville High. It is odd how taking the road less traveled by (in this case a new school) instead of the old path (Huntsville) can make such a difference in one's life.

    Some of you, a precious few, would have still been in my life, but oh so many would not have become the friends I have today. That is a scary thought. You wouldn't be reading about my life each week and sharing your own stories with your classmates had I not ended up at Lee Junior High's front door that first week of September of 1960. It was one of the best decisions I made in my life.


Parrotheads Rejoice
John Drummond
LHS '65

    I just today purchased a new biography book:  "Jimmy Buffet:   A Good Life All the Way".  The title comes from the final line of one of his early songs, "He Went to Paris". which some of you have heard me perform back in the day, probably on a beach, or at a beach bar in the Caribbean or Florida Keys, with my guitar.   Author Ryan White.  At Barnes & Noble, you will find it not in Biography, but in the Music Section.  Color photos included.

    You may already be aware of this factoid, but there are only six authors in history who have written a New York Times #1 Best-Seller for both Fiction and Non-Fiction.  List includes John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway,  William Styron, and Jimmy Buffett (for "Tales from Margaritaville" and "A Pirate Looks at Fifty", his autobiography).

    In the Auburn 1964-65 Yearbook, "The Glomerata", is a postage stamp-sized photo of freshman students; next to his picture:  "James R. Buffett,   Mobile, Alabama.  Freshman.  Pre-Law."

    When he arrived at Auburn and pledged Sigma Pi, he had never picked up a guitar.  He quickly noticed that the girls swarmed around fraternity guys who could sign and play guitar.  When he asked how to do this, one of the brothers told him: "It's easy; all you need to know is three chords."  The rest is history.  He transferred to Southern Miss, somehow evaded Vietnam, and drifted to Key West, where he slept on a hammock in the back yard of Jerry Jeff Walker, visited local bars, listened to Key West natives (who call themselves "Conchs", after the seashell) tell their stories which inspired  the lyrics of his songs.   

    If you have never been to a Jimmy Buffett and The Coral Reefer Band (note not-so-subtle reference to smoking pot), it is a joyful experience.  Though he has produced over 20 albums, the disc jockeys typically only play three of his songs:  "Margaritavile,"  "Come Monday,"  and with Alan Jackson, "It's 5  O'Clock Somewhere."

    If reincarnation exists, I want to come back as Jimmy Buffett.

    Skip Cook, LHS '64, added this info: "In the fall of 1964, my across the hall neighbors in Magnolia Dorm were Sigma pi pledges.  I shot some hoops with Jimmy Buffet who was a Sigma Pi pledge.  He went home for Christmas and was a ball boy at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.  When he came back to campus he had a football from the Sr. Bowl and a cut off T-shirt that players used to wear under their shoulder pads.  The shirt had a name stenciled on the front.  Buffet said you need to watch this guy he's going to be great.  The name on the shirt? Biletnicoff (sp?).

    One of Buffet's fraternity brothers taught him how to play those 3 chords on the guitar.  That was Clyde Lee Boozer formerly of Tallahassee.  No, I didn't make up that name."