Two Maplewood sons of note recently passed within a short time of each other. Ray Kennedy an accomplished jazz pianist and brother of Wanda Kennedy Kuntz, author of “Kennedy Music” was laid to rest this past week. I was not fortunate enough to ever meet Ray so I feel it would be inappropriate for me to say much about him. I am saddened by his untimely passing at age 58. I wish the best to all of his friends and family.
Editor: See also: 40 South News readers invited to Ray Kennedy memorial
Syl Beletz beat all expectations, no doubt. When he passed away in March he was working on his 99th year. Syl was a thrice decorated veteran of WWII, an author, an activist, a canoeist, a bicyclist, an inventor, a photographer and a caretaker of his parents when they could no longer care for themselves. In his working life he was a tool and die maker.
Many folks will recall seeing Syl, his older brother Frank (who passed away a few years back) and their younger brother, Al around south Maplewood on their recumbent bicycles. A bicyclist myself, we sometimes stopped to compare our machines.
I made a short video of Syl once on the parking lot at Quiktrip. He was reminiscing about searching for Amelia Earhart in the south Pacific during his Navy years. On another occasion he told me of a friend who lived at 3249 Walter who won the Irish sweepstakes. $28,000. Big money in the 1940’s.
Syl and Ray both accomplished much in their time here on the planet. They won’t soon be forgotten.