Karl Kennedy, 99, died Wednesday morning, August 28, 2013, at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital of heart failure. Karl was the son of Karl F. Kennedy Senior and Ellen Downing Kennedy. He had two sisters, Barbara Kennedy Bryan, whose children Patty Harrington, Ginger Riehl, and Joan Mehring, survive, and Jean Kennedy Hall, whose son, Allen Hall, survives. Karl married Mary Maxine Cocke in 1947 and their union produced a son, Michael, and a daughter Kristi. Karl is survived by Kristi's children, Steven Higginbotham and Kathy Higginbotham Young, and Kathy's children, Thomas Eugene Young Jr. and Owen Daniel Young.
Karl was born in San Francisco, California, August 5, 1914, within hours of the opening guns of World War I (in which his father, Karl Senior, served). As a high school student, Karl went through military training each summer with the Citizens Military Training Camps which would ultimately lead to his being commissioned an officer in the army reserves. Karl attended and graduated from Fresno State University where he majored in Geology and washed trucks for Schlumberger in the oil fields. On Pearl Harbor day he got a telegram saying, "You will report immediately to the facility at San Luis, Obispo, California, for active duty." Karl was assigned to the Americal Division and attended the Coast Watchers School on Guadalcanal. Somewhat later, Karl served on Bougainville Island and participated in innumerable patrols protecting the airport from Japanese raids. After a year of heavy service in Bougainville, Karl was sent to Cebu Island in the Philippines. In his initial action there, Karl was in the first wave of landing craft that suffered heavy casualties. Only five of fifteen craft ever made it to the shore and Karl was in one of them. His assignment was to coordinate by radio with battalion HQ from the beach, which he did under constant fire. For his service that day, Karl received the Bronze Star. By the end of the Philippine campaign, Karl was the S2 (intelligence officer for his battalion) and in a position to read the orders for his battalion's role in the coming invasion of Japan, but the assault never materialized because of the atomic bomb and Karl pulled into Tokyo Bay and landed peacefully with his unit at Yokohama in September of 1945.
After the war, Karl returned to California, where he worked for Schlumberger Surveying and gained experience in assessing oil and gas bearing rock formations. In 1952 he began working for Gulf Oil and became expert in the reading of well logs, which grew from his experience with Schlumberger. In 1960, Karl moved with his family to Salt Lake City where he worked on wells and geological maps throughout the Rocky Mountain region. After moving to Midland, Texas in 1962, Karl was elected president of the Society of Petroleum Well Logging and participated in the first attempts at computer well log analysis. In 1968 Karl moved with his family to Houston which served as his base while he travelled all over the world assisting in the interpretation of well logs and giving classes in his field of expertise.
Karl retired from Gulf Oil (now Chevron) in 1983 and turned his considerable energies to volunteerism. Karl served for more than 20 years with the Sharpstown Civic Association and worked closely with the constable patrols to help keep the community safe. With his wife, Maxine, and son, Michael, Karl worked for many years at Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital as a volunteer, especially with their 55+ program. As well, Karl, Maxine and son Michael, spent years delivering Meals on Wheels to those in need.
Karl Kennedy had a strong personality, a zest for life and an admirable self-reliance. He loved to ski, to sail, to travel and to learn. With his wife, he enjoyed the company of a succession of beloved dachshunds. Always good with his hands, Karl became quite skilled at building stained glass lamps and creative objects of various kinds. As Karl aged, and Maxine passed, Karl moved to Clarewood Retirement Community where Karl quickly made many friends and participated in bridge games and other activities. Karl was positive and clear minded until his very last day and will be missed by many, most especially by members of his beloved Episcopal Church of the Epiphany where he was an active and valued member to the end.