Thinking about Maude Warring Kennedy (Lived to 109)

As the Holiday seasons arrive on the scene, my mind goes to the home of the Matthews (Matt & Vira). Vira Kennedy Matthews’ mother Maude Warring Kennedy was very central to the Christmas & Thanksgiving holidays and birthdays that were celebrated in the home of her daughter & son-in-law.

I arrived late on the scene as Vira & Matt were my parents friends and I did not get the opportunity to spend time around them until my father became ill in 2000. Since that time I would spend time in their home for the holiday festivities. The Matthews became family to me and I address them as such (Uncle Matt & Aunt Vira).

Maude lived to One-Hundred and Nine 

(“Nunna” Maude was an amazing woman, and we all had various stories to tell of her life, and in due time I will share my own.

 [Transcribed from Obituary]

Maude Warring Kennedy was born to Eugene Cordell and Carrie Williams Warring on January 4, 1900.  She was one of five children and the youngest daughter.  Maude’s early years were spent living with her family in the Cove area of Wethersfield, Connecticut where her father was a fisherman-the first commercial fisherman on the Connecticut River.  His fish house is now an historical Site. The Family how where Maude was born and the one room schoolhouse that she attended are also historical sited in Old Wethersfield.

In 1912, The Warring family moved to Hartford where Maude attended public schools and graduated from Hartford High School.  She was a member of Tempos Proposito, a women’s charity organization and the Union Baptist Church of Hartford.  The church had been established in 1871 in a railroad box car and her father was a founding member.

In 1927, Maude married Charles Leonard Kennedy and they moved to New Haven where Mr. Kennedy later became the first African American elected Justice of the Peace.  Maude worked on the support staff at Yale University.  She and her husband were active members of their community and the Dixwell Avenue Congregational Church. Maude worked at the polls for every election going door to door before each election to arrange transportation for seniors and others who needed a ride to the polls in order to vote.

She loved children and was a foster mother to many while raising her own son, two daughters, and two nephews.  “Aunt Maude” as she was called by nearly everyone was famous for her cake decorating, a talent she used when each of her grandchildren had a birthday.  Her hobbies included crocheting, especially Christmas mittens and slippers, and she made coleslaw that was the talk of the town.  Her grandchildren called her “Nunna” and fondly remember her teaching them to crochet, sew, cook, play bumper pool, Chinese Checkers, Po-keno, and Bid Whist.  But mostly, they remember that she taught them to pray and, with a little help from her backyard “switch tree” to behave.

Maude moved to San Diego in 1977, and resided in San Carlos for 20 years until she went to live with her daughter and son-in-law in Del Cerro.  She was a member of Southeastern Community Presbyterian Church, San Diego, Tema Sister City Society, and is a founding member of “The Girls of San Diego”.

In her late 90’s Maude enjoyed going on bus tours and attending meetings with her daughter.  In honor of her 100th birthday, the City Council of San Diego proclaimed January 16, 2000 MAUDE WARRING KENNEDY DAY in the city.  She also received a birthday letter from President and Mrs. Clinton.  During her later years she enjoyed singing the “old” songs like Danny Boy, and She’ll Be Comin ’round the Mountain, watching old TV westerns, holding her little poodle and visiting with company.  In 2005 she was among the San Diego Voice & Viewpoints “Outstanding Mothers of influence”.  For her 108th birthday Maude was recognized by Willard Scott on NBC Television and just last year (2008) she was honored by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and the Martin Luther King Democratic Club.

On February 16, 2009 Maude Warring Kennedy was called to eternal rest.  On March 4, 2009, in recognition of her longevity and life-long achievements, Councilwoman Marty Emerald, read an eloquent tribute and adjourned the City Council Meeting in her honor.  She is survived by her two daughters, a nephew, seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren, and three great great grandchildren.

Some of the Songs we sang at Maude’s Memorial Service

It is amazing that Maude lived so long…of course I might add it is because of the love and care of Aunt Vira Williams.  She was an awesome daughter to her mother.  As I only knew Maude for 9 years, I truly miss the holiday fun we had in Aunt Vira’s home.  As a matter of fact, I intend on spending my Christmas with the family this year.

A Side Note:  When Maude passed, Aunt Vira had me do some genealogy work on the family.  I was taken in by her mother’s history and the old photo’s that she shared with me, and the opportunity I had to scan them.  I hope that I can spend some time doing more research on the Warring-Kennedy Ancestors.

2 thoughts on “Thinking about Maude Warring Kennedy (Lived to 109)

  1. I lived on Orchard Street in New Haven from the 50s thru mid 60s. Miss Maude was in the preceding block. She was just a bit older than my grandmother who lived at 698. My mother remembers Mrs. Kennedy and its fascinating to see that she lived her life well and was granted many years. She blessed and was blessed.

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