This Memorial Page Established by-
The family of Dundalk resident Sgt. Joseph T. Kennedy is seeking contributions for funeral
expenses. Kennedy, 38, died suddenly on July 7 while stationed in Georgia. Kennedy leaves
behind a wife and three children.
Kennedy joined the U.S. Army at age 18, serving two tours of duty in Iraq. He was stationed
in Georgia, though he had planned to retire in four months and return to his hometown of
Due to the fact that there is no funding available for burial, Kennedy’s family is asking for
contributions towards bringing the fallen soldier home to be honored and buried.
Any contributions above and beyond the cost of the funeral will be placed in a scholarship
fund in Kennedy’s honor to assist fellow veterans.
Contributions can be made at any Community College of Baltimore County campus or
mailed to CCBC, 7200 Sollers Point Road, Baltimore MD 21222. Checks should be made out
to CCBC – Sgt. Thomas Kennedy Memorial.
Local soldier buried after bureaucratic confusion
Wednesday, 04 August 2010 10:32
Burial benefits for Kennedy were at issue
by Nicole Rodman
It was reported in the July 22 issue of The Eagle that the family of the late Sgt. Joseph T.
Kennedy, who died at age 38 on July 7 while stationed in Georgia, had been seeking
contributions for the burial of their son.
In the July 29 issue, it was noted that the family had been able to access funds to inter Sgt.
Sgt. Kennedy’s family has informed The Eagle that they did not receive funding from the U.S.
Army to bury their son. According to the Kennedys, there are a number of reasons why they
were unable to obtain funds from the military.
The primary factor complicating the Kennedy family’s attempts to receive military benefits
was the fact that they were unable to contact or locate Sgt. Kennedy’s estranged wife.
Since Sgt. Kennedy was going to be discharged in four months, he had not removed his wife’
s name as next-of-kin on his Army paperwork. This made it very difficult for the Kennedy
family to claim any benefits following his death.
Additionally, since the Kennedy family chose not to bury Sgt. Kennedy at the Crownsville
Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville, Md., they were required to pay to have him interred at a
private cemetery. According to the U.S. Department of Defense website, the military will only
pay burial expenses if the servicemember is interred at a state military cemetery.
According to Sgt. Kennedy’s parents, Tom and Libby Kennedy, since they did not want their
son to be buried so far from his home in Dundalk, Tom Kennedy had to cash in his retirement
funds to pay for burial expenses totaling almost $5,000.
The U.S. Army did pay for a small metal grave marker at the site.
According to Libby Kennedy, there are a number of misconceptions regarding military
“Everyone assumes the military covers everything, but they don’t,” explained Mrs. Kennedy.
According to the D.O.D website, there are a number of possible death benefits available in
the event of an active servicemember’s death.
The next-of-kin may receive a tax-exempt death gratuity of up to $100,000, as well as all back
pay owed to the servicemember. However, due to the confusion regarding Sgt. Kennedy’s
wife, these funds remain in bureaucratic limbo.
In the case of active servicemembers buried in a military cemetery, the military will pay for all
burial expenses, including a grave marker and a keepsake flag.
In the case of servicemembers such as Sgt. Kennedy who are buried in private cemeteries,
the military only pays for a grave marker and a flag.
Additionally, according to the DOD website, while there is no charge for the grave marker
itself, “arrangements for placing it in a private cemetery are the applicant’s responsibility and
all setting fees are at private expense.”
While the Kennedys have been able to lay their son to rest close to his beloved hometown,
they are still collecting donations for a scholarship fund to be established in Sgt. Kennedy’s
memory. Contributions can be made at any Community College of Baltimore County
|Sgt. Joseph T. Kennedy
United States Army
KIA 07 July 2010