On Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, Devin Kennedy played his drums for the last time, succumbing to respiratory failure, which cut short his musical life. Devin was born in Billings on June 18, 1987, during a lightning storm, which announced this beautiful soul to the world.
In middle school, Devin found his niche and passion for life when he discovered the drums. As parents of a teen, we thought it may be a passing phase, but his teacher said: “Get him a drum set,” and the rest is history. He graduated from Billings West High in 2005. Devin and his friends played in several bands throughout the next few years: Nomad, New Squids On The Dock, Red Light Blue; he played some musical theater and a couple of stints with the Billings Symphony.
He graduated from MSU Billings in 2013 with a degree in music performance. Devin’s band, the DKTrio, was a fixture at TEN in the Northern Hotel for over a year. He participated in the Tippet Rise Art Center outdoor project last summer, and was currently working on some amazing music with Bender Teller and Transmit Flux. His recent collaboration with longtime friend Matt Gilg was the project he was most proud of — the startup of Amplify Downtown, a recording studio in the heart of downtown Billings, which would have also included his private studio, DMK Drums. We are filled with tremendous heartbreak knowing Devin won’t be here to see his dream fulfilled.
Devin was blessed with a riotous wit, a keen political mind, compassion for animals, a devotion to healthy living, a love of movies, an ardent work ethic and a strong commitment to family. He loved “slinging beers” at Canyon Creek Brewery, where he worked for the last two years.
Devin was proud of his Polish and Irish heritage and traditions, and enjoyed listening to stories about his relatives. Devin is survived by his parents, Larry Kennedy and Teresa Kozak-Kennedy; his sisters, Sarah and Grace, who were an important focus of his life; grandmother Kathy Kennedy; uncle Jerry (Kathy) Kozak from Helena; aunt Lynne (Ed) Gillig; aunt Kathy (Darren) Brockel; uncle Pat Kennedy of Vancouver, Wash.; and numerous cousins and many longtime friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Edward and Czeslawa Kozak; and grandfather Joseph Kennedy.
A vigil will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 9, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave. A funeral mass will be at 11 a.m. Friday, March 10, at St. Pius X Church, 18th and Broadwater, with a reception to follow. Beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday, March 11, there will be a celebration of life to honor Devin at Canyon Creek Brewery, 3060 Gable Road, by Devin’s musical family, with music, stories and love.
We encourage you to share your memories and photos of Devin on his Facebook page. A memorial fund has been established at First Interstate Bank under DMK Drums for future music grants.