HOLDEN – Peter Chapman Kennedy, 65, died peacefully Sept. 13, 2012, at his home after experiencing declining health in the last couple of years. Born Nov. 26, 1946, in Camden, to Lawrence A. and Phyllis C. Kennedy of Milbridge, Peter was the second of three children.
He grew up on Bridge Street, Milbridge, with his eldest sister, Susette, and his younger sister, Betsy. At the age of 16, he set out to become a trucker by driving dump trucks. In 1966 at the age of 19, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, where he learned to drive tractor-trailers. “Someday I’m going to have my own truck,” he wrote to his parents while in training at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. After an honorable discharge in 1968, he soon realized his dream of driving a big rig as a long-haul trucker, accumulating more than 5 million miles on the road as he traveled the country from Maine to California and points between. Along the way he won several awards for safety, including 1986 and 1991 Driver of the Year for Trans Coastal Corp., now known as Classic Carriers. He also served on Trans Coastal Corp.’s safety board for several years. His last award was for 37 years of accident-free driving – his entire career – given by the American Trucking Associations. Truck driving was his only passion in life. He never wanted to do anything else. One of his last wishes was to accompany his longtime boss and friend, Ray Veilleux, on a trip to California. Unfortunately, Peter never got the chance because of his poor health. In his last few months Peter was able to reconnect with his sisters and nephew, Ryan Robbins. Doing so brought him great peace of mind after having spent so many years on the road. “I have two great sisters,” Peter said in late May while in rehabilitation. “We were never close, you know? But ever since I ended up here, they’ve been there for me. They were always there. I just never knew it.” The constant loves in his life were his pets, most recently his cats, the first of which was Oreo. After Oreo died, Peter adopted a kitten he named Leo. Almost a year later, he adopted Leo’s half sister, Katie. They brought him much joy.
Peter is survived by his mother, Phyllis of Hancock; sister, Susette and her husband, Redington Robbins III, of Bangor; sister, Betsy and her husband, Larry Emerson, of Ellsworth; nieces, Deirdre Robbins McIntyre of Clifton, Angela Robbins of Bangor, Andrea Emerson Brockberg of Hugo, Minn., and Jill Emerson of Scottsdale, Ariz.; and his nephew, Ryan of Bangor. Also surviving are three great-nephews and a great-niece. Peter was predeceased by his father in 1974.
A graveside service will be held 2 p.m. Sunday at Evergreen Cemetery, Milbridge. In case of rain, the service will be at Faith Bible Fellowship Church, 77 Rays Point Road, Milbridge. Donations may be made in Peter’s memory to Bangor Humane Society, 693 Mount Hope Ave., Bangor, ME 04401.