The Semper Fi Fund sends our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Navy Musician 1st Class Kenneth Fennell. On December 24, 2012, Kenneth passed away after a yearlong battle with a grade-four glioblastoma, (an inoperable brain tumor). Kenneth is survived by his wife, Bridgit, and their two children, John Christian (J.C.) and Emily.
Kenneth enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1981. He attended the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, VA and then reported to Atlantic Fleet Band in Norfolk, VA. He also served with Navy Band Guam and Navy Band Charleston, SC, deploying twice, and performed in South America and Africa.
He separated from naval service in 1988 and returned to college, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1990 with a Bachelor of Music in saxophone and flute performance from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
In 2002, he returned to the Navy, serving with Navy Band Northeast in Newport, RI before joining the United States Navy Band Washington, DC in 2003, where he spent six years with the Cruisers popular music group, performing for military and civilian dignitaries and as a featured soloist at concerts in the Washington area.
The family home is in Baltimore, MD but the family temporarily relocated to Bethesda, MD when Kenneth was diagnosed with terminal cancer and he began to experience limited mobility as his tumor increased in size. His son, JC speaks lovingly about his dad's positive attitude, stating he was always smiling when his children were nearby. J.C. credits his dad as the person who instilled "a love of music and people" in him.
The Semper Fi Fund has had the privilege of getting to know Navy Musician First Class Kenneth Fennell and his family while at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center Bethesda, MD and we are truly saddened by his passing. We supported Kenneth and his family during this difficult struggle, and we are glad to have had the opportunity to help as much as was possible. The Semper Fi Fund was able to provide Kenneth with an IPad when his eyesight grew increasingly worse. He used the IPad to facetime his children when they could not be at his bedside and to stay connected to the world outside his hospital room. Assistance also included Family support grants for his wife to remain by his bedside and to help supplement her loss of income. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bridgit, JC, Emily, and the rest of the Fennell family and close friends. To Ken, Fair Winds and Following Seas!