Stephen Gerard Kennedy, Korean War veteran and temporary staffing agency owner, dies

Stephen Gerald Kennedy was a founder of the nonprofit Us Against MS (multiple sclerosis).

Stephen Gerald Kennedy, a Korean War veteran who owned and operated a temporary staffing agency, died of Parkinson’s disease complications Sept. 17 at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 85 and lived in Timonium.

Born in Kingsville in Baltimore County and raised on a farm, he was the son of Thomas Joseph Kennedy Sr. and Margaret Eleanor Donohue. He later moved to Baltimore and attended the old St. Ann’s School and Calvert Hall College High School. He served in the Army and was stationed in Korea during the Korean War.


He met his future wife, Elaine J. “Mimi” Steinberg, through mutual friends. They married in 1967 at Blessed Sacrament.

Mr. Kennedy worked in finance departments of Crown Cork and Seal Corp., the Radio Corporation of America and Able Temporaries.


He launched his own staffing business, Kennedy Temporaries, in 1978. The firm was based in downtown Baltimore and employed temporary clerical workers for Maryland government agencies and private clients.

Mr. Kennedy established two division: clerical and hospitality. One year his business staffed the dining rooms and tents for the Preakness Stakes with bartenders, servers and waiters.

He placed a weekly ad in The Sun that said, “Job-A-Rama” and rented a conference room to interview potential workers.

“At first the business was a grassroots effort,” his daughter, Dawn Burch, said. “He had a vision and he saw a need. He had a rotary dial phone and a pad and pen. He was a charismatic speaker and started speaking to potential clients. In the early days he took a bus to make sales calls.

“His employees loved him and were loyal to him. They stayed with him for years and years.”

“He could read people like a book,” his wife, Elaine, said. “People took to him. He was gregarious and had a big personality. As a businessman, he was monetarily wise. He was a good investor and he never borrowed money.”

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Mr. Kennedy owned thoroughbred horses and attended the Saturday races at Pimlico. He was also an Orioles, Baltimore Colts and Ravens fan.

He served on the board of Maryland Retail Financial Executives and was a founder of the nonprofit Us Against MS (multiple sclerosis). He was the charity’s president and secretary.


Mr. Kennedy also bought real estate at auctions. After purchasing properties near St. Leo the Great church in Little Italy, he and his wife joined the parish. He served as a St. Leo trustee, extraordinary minister who distributed Holy Communion and sat on church committees. He also helped establish a St. Leo’s preservation fund.

He spent his summers at Ocean City, where he hosted his daughters and grandchildren.

Mr. Sullivan was a board member and past president of the Hearing Loss Association of Greater Baltimore.

A funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgely Road, Timonium.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Elaine “Mimi” Steinberg Kennedy, who worked with him in the family business; two daughters, Dawn Burch of Phoenix in Baltimore County and Jennifer Thorne of Millbrook of New York; a sister, Helen Geslois of Ocean City; and four grandchildren.