Roy Kennedy remembers a great 32-year job

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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The Lincoln Regional Airport is lacking one fun and music-loving employee. That’s because after 32 years, senior airport maintenance manager Roy Kennedy has retired. Taking his place Jan. 4 will be Tony Lattuca, a city employee who worked at the airport in the 1990s, according to airport manager Dave Daly. Kennedy, who moonlights as a karaoke deejay on weekends at Lou La Bonte’s in Auburn, will have more time for travel with his wife and for home-improvement projects. “It’s very sad for me because I’m not only losing a great co-worker but a great friend,” said Richard Spinale, who has worked with Kennedy for four years. While he has worked with numerous workers at other jobs, Spinale said, “he’s by far the best co-worker and mentor I’ve had.” Kennedy began at the airport after leaving the Air Force. He first ran the fuel service, which at the time was owned by Lincoln Skyways until the city took over the fuel service. “The unemployment office thought I would know something about the job because of my Air Force experience,” said Kennedy, who found out about the job via that office. “I ended up fueling aircraft and did some maintenance on airplanes.” Kennedy, senior airport maintenance manager for 10 of his 32 years at the airport, said his job has stayed the same through the years, with the addition of some systems to maintain. Responsibilities were maintaining airport grounds, such as the electrical system and replacing runway light bulbs. Kennedy has also maintained the airport’s weather system, which he said requires “some schooling and certification.” When asked what he liked about working at the airport, Kennedy said he has enjoyed “being around the planes and the work I do.” “It’s a nice job and fueling airplanes is fun,” he said. “It gets you out of the office.” Daly said Kennedy will be a “big loss to the airport” and has “provided great service to customers.” “He knows the airport like the back of his hand,” Daly said. “I’m going to miss his wealth of knowledge and he has a lot of history in the airport and that’s very valuable.” Over the years, Kennedy has met a few famous individuals, including John Travolta and Richard Simmons. He said Travolta was “very nice.” Simmons was promoting his videos and a book at Sam’s Club, and Kennedy described him as funny. “I yelled into the plane, ‘Hey Richard, get out here, we want to sweat to the oldies,’” Kennedy said. Kennedy has been married to wife, Bev, for 35 years and they have one daughter and two sons. “His family has been his No. 1 priority and he’s proud of the fact that he’s been able to provide for us,” Bev Kennedy said. “There’s never been any doubt in my mind that we’re the priority and now he can be the priority.” Bev Kennedy described her husband as happy and fun, and said, “he’s my best friend.” She also said he is very precise and that he “puts a lot of heart and effort into what he does.” “Whatever he does, he puts 150 percent into it,” Bev Kennedy added. “It’s either all or it’s not worth making the effort.” She is excited about her husband retiring and said Kennedy will have more “down time” for his hobbies, such as working on bicycles since he is a Schwinn certified mechanic. “He’s always saying he wants more time to do things around the house and he’s got hobbies,” Bev Kennedy said. “I’m very proud of him that he’s able to retire.”