Jessie Dorothy Kennedy (Hopwood) 1900-1987

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Jessie Dorothy Kennedy (nee Hopwood) was born in Shoreditch. London, England on the 28th day of March 1900. Her parents were Thomas Henry (aka Robert) Hopwood and Jessie Elizabeth Hopwood (nee Traish).

 Dorothy was the second child and the first daughter in the family.  She was called “Dolly” by family and friends. Her siblings were 3 brothers (Jack, Ernie and Joe) and one sister (Laura).  Her father was a butcher and was employed by various shops in and around the London area. 

 She lived at Egham, Surrey and Staines, Middlesex near the river Thames at one time and recalled of watching the boat races between Oxford & Cambridge Universities on the river near Windsor Castle.   She also remembers living the British military town of Aldershot when her sister Laura was born. Dolly’s home life was happy and recalls of the village commons’ in England where gypsies camped. Her mother told her to keep away from the commons as the gypsies a kidnapped blonde & blue-eyed girl (which was her coloring). 

Her father immigrated to Nelson B.C., Canada in 1908 and the rest of the family followed with Jack in 1912, Mother Jessie, Dorothy, Laura, Ernest and Joseph in May of 1913. When they left England for Canada, Grandmas friends came to see her off and pleaded with her not to go. They came to live at 413 Silica Street in Nelson. Jessie was 41 when she came to Canada.

 Jessie developed Creeping Paralysis and was in a wheel chair for some years.  Dorothy was designated to look after mother during her illness while the others got jobs outside the home.  Dorothy said the house was always full of young people singing around the piano and said her mother was a very happy person.  Sad to say Jessie died at 51 years of age in 1923!

 Dorothy married William George Kennedy on June 12th 1922.  “Bill” as he was called had also, along with his father and brothers had emigrated from Canterbury in Kent.  Bill and Dolly had 3 daughters, June born Feb 9th 1923, Iris born Oct 11th 1924 and Eleanor born August 7th 1928.   Dolly was a very loving person and her children could always go to her to talk about their troubles.

Uncle Jack Hopwood rented a house in 1927 on Thurlow Street, Vancouver and Dolly, June and Iris lived there for a month. After Dolly gave birth to Eleanor in 1928, apparently her marriage with Bill deteriorated from then on; Bill was very strict as the head of the household. He worked for Kootenay Breweries in Nelson for 19 years.

 In May 1942 Bill went to Vancouver, taking welding training on Main Street and went to work for West Coast Shipyards. Uncle Jack and Aunty Mo got a house for the family at 5611 Larch Street, Kerrisdale district (a lovely area) and we all moved to Vancouver in August of 1942, coming by train to the Hastings Street CPR station. Dolly lived in the house until 1949 when Bill went back to Nelson and they separated, Dolly and Eleanor moved in together in an apartment in Kerrisdale.  Bill refused to support Dolly (Iris married in March 1947 and June in October 1948). So at the age of 49 Dorothy had to get a job and found one at Moore’s Delicatessen on 41st Avenue in Kerrisdale, she loved people and enjoyed her job. Eleanor married in November 1951 and Dorothy was on her own and lived in various areas of Vancouver, until she moved to a senior’s complex at 49th Elliott. Bill died in a tragic accident in 1965.  She developed Leukemia at about age 71 and was moved to a private hospital as she no longer could live alone, she was later moved to the Royal Masonic Lodge on Champlain Street and stayed there until June of 1987 when she went to the hospital and died on June 20th 1987. She was cremated and funeral service at the Vancouver Crematorium. Iris and June took her ashes to Nelson in May of 1988 to be buried in her mother’s grave (at her request). As Iris often stated, “A more loving mother you could never find”.



Information provided by Iris Close (nee Kennedy) August 2006.