Cover photo for Sylvia Smith Kennedy's Obituary
Sylvia Smith Kennedy Profile Photo
1954 Sylvia 2023

Sylvia Smith Kennedy

May 26, 1954 — July 24, 2023



Sylvia Smith Kennedy, a lifelong resident of Tattnall County, GA, was born on May 26, 1954 to James Madison (J.M.) Smith, Jr and Rubye Thompson Smith of Hughland Community. She was a childhood member of Shiloh Methodist Church and served her Lord faithfully through gifts of service, both to her community as a career social worker, and to her Church Family at Reidsville United Methodist Church where she helped cook and deliver meals to elderly and shut-ins, worked in the kitchen and was a group coordinator for bereavement meals and celebrations. At various times she served as Sunday School Superintendent, as a member of the Administrative Board, and as the treasurer for the United Methodist Women. She was a faithful member of the Pairs and Spares Sunday School Class, a long time member of the Cora Herndon Circle, a member of the Women After God’s Own Heart Bible Study and The Seekers Devotional Group. At the time of her death, she was a member of GracePoint Church in Reidsville.

Sylvia was a much beloved member of the Reidsville High School Class of 1972, however she took early enrollment at Brewton Parker College and skipped her senior year, obtaining her Bachelors in Home Economics from Georgia Southern College and beginning her career as a case worker with Tattnall County Department of Family and Children Services in 1974. Sylvia spent part of her career as a mental health counselor with Pineland Mental Health but returned to the work of Child Protective Services and retired with 32 years of service to the State of Georgia and the people of Tattnall County.

Sylvia married the love of her life, Brett Alvah Kennedy, on the bank of the Ohoopee River on November 9, 1974. They made their home and raised their family in the delta of the Ohoopee near Cowford Community and the Altamaha River. Her happy place was always by the water with sand between her toes, whether it be the river or the beach. Together they raised 3 children: Jessica Laurel, Rader Madison, and Katherine “Katie” Leah, and built a life rich with the love of friends and family. Always a sweet and loving soul, she became a much loved ‘Dandy’ to many more than her own seven grandchildren.

She passed gracefully and peacefully from this life the morning of Monday, July 24, 2023 after a two year battle with cancer. She fought a courageous fight and Brett was her one-man-army, surrounding her with so much love and fighting by her side on every step of her long journey. She and her family spent her last days being gently cared for by the staff of Community Hospice in Vidalia, GA.

Sylvia is proceeded in death by her parents and her in-laws, J.C. and Dana Kennedy of Reidsville. She leaves behind her husband, Brett, her children: Jessica (Jason) Prince and Rader (Crystal) Kennedy of Reidsville, and Katie (Zack) Clarkson of Statesboro, grandchildren: Evan and Ella Prince, Regan and Chase Kennedy, and Lex, Liza, and Luca Clarkson, sister: Marsha Clark of Douglasville, GA, nephew: Jay (Becca) Becker of Temple, GA, several precious cousins, and more dear friends than can be counted.

Never one to want a fuss, per her wishes, no formal visitation or service will be held. A graveside service will be held at Reidsville City Cemetery on Thursday, July 27th at 10:00am. All who loved her and are able to attend are welcome. A Celebration of her Life will be held at a later date. The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, remembrances in her name be made to Community Hospice in Vidalia, GA.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Sylvia Smith Kennedy, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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