ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – Friends and family are saying goodbye to James Kennedy, also lovingly known at “Radio.”
Kennedy died at the age of 73 on Sunday.
He was transported to T.L. Hanna High School Friday where he will lay in repose from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m., according to McDougald Funeral Home.
Many knew Kennedy as the inspiration for the Hollywood movie “Radio,” which was based on his life.
Radio loved being a part of the T.L. Hanna High School community.
“If he could be at T.L. Hanna High School, it was a great day,” said Walter Mayfield, who is the principal of T.L. Hanna. “He didn’t like to miss school. He wanted to be here everyday.”
He would go to ROTC classes, pick up attendance slips outside of classrooms, cheer on the Yellow Jackets, and say hello to everyone.
“He always greeted you and treated you the same way, as though you never knew who he was,” said Ramon Robinson, who played football at T.L. Hanna.
For decades, Radio led the football team onto the field, inspiring the student body as well as audiences through the movie named after him.
“His statute’s out there, and of course he will let you know, ‘that’s me,’” Robinson said.
Friday, Radio took one last turn around the stadium before ROTC cadets brought him to lie in state at the school, where hundreds waited in line to pay their respects.
People who knew radio said radio’s legacy is about more than just sports.
“I think Radio’s legacy is about acceptance and about even though somebody isn’t perfect or has imperfections, that they have a lot to offer,” Mayfield said.
“The legacy he leaves behind is to show the loving kindness to people,” said Radio’s niece and caretaker Jacqueline Kennedy. “We supposed to be normal people, when Radio was special needs, and he had the right kind of love.”
Kennedy told 7news that she’s touched by how many people came out to honor him.
“I’m just happy that so many, not only Anderson supporting him, it’s people from different states that came in as well,” She said.
The funeral service for Radio were held Saturday, December 21 at The Civic Center of Anderson at 2 p.m.
His burial followed the service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.