Patricia Margaret Kennedy, 72, died unexpectedly on May 30, 2020 from complications of multiple myeloma– – a disease she fought with grit and grace for the past five years. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, “Patsy” to her family, loved books, music from the 50's and 60's, and could “name that tune” in two notes. She cherished vacations she lovingly planned with her friends and most important to Pat was her family, and her chosen family of friends – her “posse”. Pat was a devoted football fan often calling a "flag on the play” before the referee, and loyally following and defending her beloved Clemson football team.
A highly respected lawyer, Pat harnessed her razor-sharp mind and southern charm to fight for fairness and equality inside and outside of the courtroom. Pat chaired the National Organization for Women – (NOW) Convention in Miami Beach, Florida in 1984 which was attended by over five thousand women and men from across the country. There she introduced Geraldine Ferraro, the first female Vice-Presidential Candidate in U.S. history. In her years with NOW Pat worked tirelessly in the fight to pass the ERA, meeting and hosting such woman pioneers as Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, and Patricia Ireland who became a lifelong friend.
After years as an executive at the Xerox Corp, Pat enrolled in law school. Her legal career began with the premier firm of Steel Hector and Davis where she trained with her mentor and now dear friend, Elizabeth Dufresne. Five years later she joined the firm of Leesfield and Partners and worked under the tutelage of Ira Leesfield in protecting the rights of the injured – many of whom had never met a lawyer until meeting Pat. She is loved by everyone in that tight knit office. Ira describes his former partner and friend as having an “incredible spirit, loyalty, and determination”. Rob Boyers, a former partner of the firm remarked “I’ll remember her quiet strength during challenging times, as well as her irrepressible and contagious buoyancy when in the company of friends.”
Although too many to name here, those left grieving this incalculable loss include Danica Campbell, her devoted partner of nearly thirty years who lovingly cared for Pat through her illness; her longtime, fiercely protective best friend, former Circuit Court Judge Ellen Leesfield; her partner’s adoring grandchildren Ashley and Isabella Campbell; her heartbroken family, including sisters Jackie Buchanan, Cindy Lockerman and brother Billy Kennedy; her nieces and nephews Kelly, Robin, Blayke, Joshua, Eric and Ariel.
Pat’s ever sharp mind and memory compelled her to continue part time after “retirement” with Ellen until last week. Ellen remarks: Most of all, Pat had an incredibly positive attitude and a profound gratitude for the little things in life – – a drive over the Rickenbacker, a perfectly cooked (southern) meal, or a simple conversation with a friend. She was my teacher in the art of gratitude.” Although her loss to us is incalculable, we will try to follow her last commanded to us: “Do not speak of my departure with sighs in your heart. Close your eyes and you will see me with you forever.”
Pat, your spirit will be, forever in our hearts.
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, Arrangements for a service honoring Pat are not yet formed, but upon her insistence, our gathering in her honor will be JOYFUL.