Serving Western Wisconsin

John Kenefick 09/26/2020

John Robert “Jack” Kenefick, 80, died peacefully at his farmhouse in River Falls, WI on Sept. 26, 2020 after living and struggling with cancer for 20 years. Jack will be remembered for his compassion, patience, listening skills and his lifelong service to others. He was proud of his military service in the U.S. Marine JAG Corps (1966-1969), his work at the MN Attorney General’s office as well as his years representing medical professionals, hospitals and health care organizations at Briggs & Morgan in St. Paul, MN where he practiced health law for 40+ years. He was dedicated to serving others through pro bono work, volunteering with a wide variety of charities and non-profit organizations including the American Cancer Society, Children’s Minneapolis Ethics Committee, the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, Spring Valley Seniors Staying Put and the Navajo Churro Sheep Association, to name just a few.
He was equally proud of his 2nd Act as a farmer, moving to rural River Falls with his wife Julie in 1994. His horsemanship skills were sharpened by riding his beloved horse Cody as often as possible. On their farm, Jack & Julie dedicated their lives to raising Navajo Churro sheep, an endangered species whose wool is used by the Navajo to weave traditional rugs. Jack’s love of animals was practiced on a daily basis, tending to their sheep and numerous other farm animals. His loyal dog Zoe was curled up at the foot of his bed when he died. His farmer life was incredibly well-suited to fun family times with his daughters Bridget, Kiki and Nicole and their families, including his grandchildren Blake, Anna, John, Hattie and Will who called him “Pa” as well as two step-grandchildren, Benjamin and Caedran.
Jack was a historian of his extended family. His many nieces and nephews loved that he was a storyteller about our family’s Irish heritage.
Special thanks to all of the caring professionals with Adoray Home Health and Hospice. We are especially grateful to Hayley, Nancy, Theresa and Lisa for their consistent caring attention.
Jack is survived by his wife Julie, his daughters Bridget (Gerald) Swanson, Kiki (Wayne) Augustin, Nicole (Bill) Barth, his brother Tom Kenefick, five grandchildren and two step-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Adoray Home Health and Hospice or the Free Clinic of Pierce and St. Croix Counties. An immediate family only service will be held at Jack & Julie’s farmhouse with military honors. We love you Jack/Dad/Pa! We miss you and will hold you in our hearts forever!

4 Comments

  • Patsy Kenefick Stinchfield Posted October 3, 2020 3:37 am

    My Uncle Jack was one of the finest people I know. Smart, humble, wise, funny, soft-spoken yet clear-minded with his strong due north. The youngest in my Dad’s family he became our family historian with a great knowledge of our Welsh-Irish heritage he passed down. He will be missed. Our love and virtual hugs to the entire Kenefick family.

  • Sr. Beatrice Eichten Posted October 3, 2020 1:54 pm

    Jack was such a good friend to my community, the Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN. I remember his wise counsel, his gentle, loving presence, and his deep down goodness. I will share Jack’s passing with my sisters who will join me in remembrance and prayers for him and his family. My sympathy to you all.

  • Kelly O’Keefe Posted October 5, 2020 1:57 am

    I only knew “Mr. Kenefick” during his First Act as lawyer/father in Saint Paul when I was classmate of Kiki. I knew him to be a principled man and loving father. May his memory be a blessing.

  • Tom Meyer Posted October 9, 2020 6:03 pm

    As fine a human being as I have ever had the honor to know, Jack embodied the qualities that we all admire and aspire to. I don’t have to list those here as everyone who knew him is well acquainted with them. I will always treasure the times we had together and will sorely miss his calming, reassuring presence as well as his subtle sense of humor and wry smile.

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