History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

When we sit down with a family, we have just one goal: to create a fitting, memorable and affordable service for their loved one. Together, we explore the wide variety of services and products available, as well as a wealth of creative ideas and suggestions.

Together, we'll design a memorial or funeral service that suits their needs now, and in the future. Families who come to us know that years from now, they will have deep peace-of-mind because in coming to us, they've done their best to honor their loved one.

Our History

Family-owned with family care since 1903

We know that the names, and dates embedded in the history of our firm may not hold great interest for some of our site visitors. But, if you do wish to concern yourself with the years of service to the community performed by those who came before us, please click here.

While our history has shaped who I am, and is the legacy on which I stand within the community, it’s important for you to know just one thing: I am a  professional, yet I have heart. I extend an invitation to you to come into our firm, and meet me face-to-face; I know then that you’ll agree. Ours is truly a family-owned and operated firm: Dave is the backbone of Kennedy and Sons, Funeral Directors.

D.J. Kennedy established his funeral service in Nokomis in 1903. Most of the equipment used was portable and therefore remained simple to use. At the time, most deaths occurred in the family home, so embalming, visitation, and the funeral service was conducted there.

The first statute for the registration of embalmers was passed in Illinois shortly after 1900. D. J. Kennedy was among the first several hundred to register as an embalmer, having graduated from the Clark College of Mortuary Science in 1903. Later, legislation provided for the issuance of standard Death Records and the registration of Funeral Directors.

In 1908, he entered into a partnership with W. Dude of Nokomis, expanding to Shelbyville by 1913, and Pana in 1923. The first site in Pana was located downtown where the Senior Citizens Center once stood.

By the early 1920's, large family homes had begun to disappear. More and more, deaths occurred at the hospital. These two forces helped to introduce the concept of the ‘funeral home,’ a building dedicated to caring for those who had died.

In 1935, D.J. followed this new trend with a move to the Gabriel Butts property, at the corner of Fifth & Locust Street, where he established a "Home for Funerals."

He and his wife Anna (Hines) ran Kennedy and Sons, Funeral Directors until 1935. This is when son Gerald joined the firm to assist his parents, and six years later, his brother Raymond joined the family firm.

When Anna died in 1947, followed just four years later by D.J., Gerald and Raymond took over operation of the firm. In 1982, Raymond's son, J. David joined the firm, as the third generation of the Kennedy family to make the commitment to caring for the families of Pana. He eventually purchased the business in 1986. Today Dave proudly continue that 106-year tradition of serving area families.

Meet Dave

As we mentioned earlier, Kennedy & Sons is truly a family-operated firm. The primary staff is small: Dave  carries the weight of working with the families of Pana  and Herrick - he does many tasks involved with great love and caring. “You have to love what you do if you’re in this field; and I do. I can't imagine doing anything else. My commitment to serve all families, and all faiths, equally, is the driving force behind my work.”

Our Valued Staff

  • Dave Kennedy

    Dave Kennedy, Funeral Director/Owner

    J. David Kennedy was born February 21, 1957 at the Huber Memorial Hospital in Pana Illinois. The third child of C. Raymond and Lucille A. (Gudehus) Kennedy. He grew up above the funeral home with his older sister Kathy and brother D.J. and younger brother James Kevin “Cub” Kennedy. He attended Sacred Heart Elementary School, Pana Senior High School, Class 1975 ,
    Southern Illinois University, AS Mortuary Science 1982. Interned at Randall A. Irwin Chapels for Funerals in Granite City Illinois. Illinois Licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer D. J. Kennedy & Sons Funeral Directors P. C., Pana Illinois, since September 1982.
    Owner Kennedy & Sons Funeral Directors P. C., Pana Illinois. Owner of Kennedy & Sons Ambulance Service Inc., re-established 1995. Ambulance Service closed January 2005. Funeral Director Wallace-Carroll Funeral Home, Herrick Illinois, since 1988. Owner Wallace-Carroll Funeral Home Herrick, since 2002.
    The father of four children Sarah Elizabeth, Sheila Marie, Lucille (Lucy) Ann, and George Raymond Kennedy. Also being raised above the funeral home.

  • James Kevin Kennedy DBA

    James Kevin Kennedy DBA, Office Manager Funeral Associate

  • Sarah Elizabeth Kennedy

    Sarah Elizabeth Kennedy, Mortuary Student (Fourth Generation)

  • Lucy Kennedy

    Lucy Kennedy, Mortuary Student