David Matthew Kennedy, who was a special representative of the First Presidency for nearly 20 years and a former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, died May 1, 1996, in Salt Lake City. He was 90.
President Gordon B. Hinckley presided over and addressed funeral services May 6 at the Salt Lake Mt. Olympus 4th Ward chapel. President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke. Several other General Authorities attended the funeral."I have known and worked with many great and good men, but I cannot think of one who stood taller and acted with greater integrity or with greater ability than David M. Kennedy," President Hinckley said. He commented on Brother Kennedy's roots in rural Randolph, in northern Utah. "I marvel that a boy out of Randolph should have made the long journey that David made to the places of power across the world," he said. "I have been with him in some of those places, like London, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other places where he was welcomed by the great and famous, the rulers of the nations who respected him and called him by his first name. Men everywhere were his friends. . . .
"He dealt with people and nations in an even-handed manner. He had a breadth of view that reached out across the world. The color of men's skin was of no consequence to him. It was the integrity of their natures that became their hallmarks, insofar as he was concerned. He walked with kings, literally, and he never lost the common touch. He never got over being a farm boy. He never got over his love for animals, his love for the fields, his love for the sky at night in a rural setting where he could see the stars and think of the wondrous works of the Almighty."
President Hinckley said that underlying all of Brother Kennedy's nature "was a sublime and quiet and marvelous faith in the living God."
Brother Kennedy, President Hinckley affirmed, "was a man for all seasons. He was a man for all people. He was a credit to this Church just as he was a credit to the United States of America."
President Faust read from a personal card that listed some of Brother Kennedy's positions and titles: "Special representative of the First Presidency. Former Chairman of the Board of the Continental Illinois National Bank of Chicago. Secretary of the United States Treasury. Ambassador at Large for the United States. U.S. Ambassador to NATO."
He said any of those achievements would have been enough to single out any man for greatness, but a recital of his extraordinary achievements would not fully reach the real identity of who David M. Kennedy was. He cited Brother Kennedy as a loving husband, father and grandfather; a humble, loyal, faithful, tried and true servant of God; a true patriot to his country; and a citizen of the world.
President Faust spoke of Brother Kennedy's pioneer heritage of Scottish ancestors who settled in Randolph in the 1870s, and their influence on his desire to serve a mission. Brother Kennedy married Lenora Bingham in the Salt Lake Temple on Nov. 4, 1925. On Jan. 14, 1926, he left for the British Mission.
President Faust said few men have had more honors of the world come to them and yet remained so totally unaffected. "President Kimball told David that all of his business experience, all of his governmental experience, all of his diplomatic experience, indeed, his whole life, had prepared him for his responsibility as Special Ambassador of the First Presidency," President Faust said.
In honor of Brother Kennedy's heritage, Dennis McMaster, pipe major of the Salt Lake Scots Pipe Band, played a bagpipe as family members and friends followed the casket from the chapel. Garry Bryant, chieftain of Clan Kennedy Society of North America, dressed in traditional Scots attire, gave a farewell salute.
David Matthew Kennedy was born July 21, 1905, in Randolph, Rich County, Utah, to George and Katherine Johnson Kennedy. He graduated from Weber College in Ogden, Utah, earned his law degree from George Washington University, and passed the bar before the U.S. Supreme Court. He earned an advanced degree from Rutgers School of Banking in New Jersey. He received numerous honorary doctorate degrees.
He worked at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C., and then for the Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust Company of Chicago, becoming chairman of the Board in 1959.
He was Secretary of the U.S. Treasury during President Nixon's first term in office, Ambassador at Large for the U.S., and U.S. Ambassador to NATO while still retaining his cabinet post. He left government service in 1973.
Callings in the Church included bishop and stake president's counselor. At age 69, he was called as Special Representative of the First Presidency. He served as spokesman for the First Presidency in more than 150 countries, and was instrumental in obtaining recognition of the Church worldwide. He taught at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies at BYU, named after him upon its dedication in 1983.
Brother Kennedy's wife died Aug. 24, 1995.