Devin Kennedy


Devin Kennedy


Devin Kennedy

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.

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15 thoughts on “Devin Kennedy”

  1. Devin, I’m so sorry to see you go. You had such big plans. Not many people have the guts to invest so much in what they love. That’s what made you such a special person. You had dreams and you went after them. I’ll always admire that about you. I am proud to say that I got to know you so well in lessons and percussion ensembles. It was always a blast hanging with you outside of school as well. You were one of the quickest and wittiest people I’ve ever known. ‘Cheers!’ Devin.

  2. Debbie Jensen

    My heart thoughts,& prayers go out to all of Devils family.There are many of us who have lost a loved one at a young age and I understand the pain, grief, and void you feel in your lives and heart at this time. May God bless and comfort you all at this very difficult time, I am just so very sad and sorry.

  3. Debbie Hougen

    Dear friends, we have fond memories of the boys playing music and hanging out in our basement. You are in our prayers
    Britt Sr. and Debbie Hougen

  4. Dear Kennedy Family and Friends,

    I wanted to share my deepest sympathy for your loss. Please find in God’s words at Isaiah 41:10.

    With Warmest Sympathy,

    Mary Louis

  5. I am very sorry for your loss. I am sorry for the pain your hearts are feeling. “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4) Soon pain will no longer exist, and death, the cause of so much pain will be destroyed. At that time those who have died will have the opportunity to live again. My sincerest condolences to your family at this difficult time.

  6. Neil & Peg Palacios

    Larry, Teresa, Sarah and Grace, We are so sorry for your loss. Our hearts are broken. You are and will always be in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers.

  7. Dianna Paulson

    Dear Kennedy family,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Words are little comfort but God’s grace is sufficient. Prayers that God’s grace abounds and there is comfort that you will all be together again one day.
    Dianna, Larry Paulson
    Amanda and Abby

  8. Rebecca J Despain

    Devin, we will always be grateful for the drums and in your example, for Ian. Our hearts are broken, you will be missed. Thank you forever for the gifts you bestowed on Ian, you touched his life in a way he will always remember…each time he plays drums, you will be with him.
    The Despain Family
    Duane, Rebecca, Ian

  9. Lloyd mickelson

    Teresa and Larry, Please accept my condolences on the passing of your son. It is always so sad when a young man who has contributed to the betterment of his community and family dies. Truly you can feel blessed for having had the years with him. May he rest in peace and may you cherish his memories as you ride out the storm.

  10. Kris Korfanta

    Dear Teresa, Larry, Sarah and Grace,
    My heart goes out to you with deep sorrow for the untimely death of Devin, your dear son and brother, and beautiful soul. I pray that you have much strength and support in dealing with the shock and the loss and the pain and the grief and the ache in your hearts. With love and many prayers.

  11. Willis and Bonnie Kukes

    Dear Kennedy Family: So, so, so very sorry. Our hearts ache for you knowing your pain and sorrow of the loss of your precious son, who had so many more dreams to realize in this life. Does not seem fair or real. May you cherish your memories with him and they will surely sustain you in the most difficult days ahead. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  12. Lee & Beth Rindal

    Devin gave comfort after our son Reyn passed away 2 years ago. He was a gentle soul that showed an amazing amount of compassion. There will never be enough answers for the multitudes of questions, both from strangers, friends, family and mostly from yourselves. The questions can become unbearable as they may divert our focus away from the love and good memories. The loving memories morph into the pain of missing some one so dear and a crucial part of who we are. Beth and I pray for you to find, and have, more love and good memories than the inevitable pain and loneliness of missing Devin. We travel the same road.

  13. Heidi Handsaker

    Dear Larry and Teresa…. I have been cleaning a funeral chapel for the last ten years (at Smith’s Downtown Chapel), so I am very familiar with grieving people… and Devin’s obituary was very well written and inspiring, even though it was also filled with heartache… And even though the only memory I have of Devin, is from the few times you brought him to your bookstore, when he was around 6 years old (and I was working there)… I still feel empathy for you now, and I hope you will be able to find some books to help with your healing?… I have read so many good books about loss and grief, and the promise of our
    Afterlife — and there are so many I would like to recommend, but a few inspiring books that come to mind now are “The Journey Home: What Near-Death Experiences and Mysticism Can Teach Us About the Gift of Life” by Phillip L. Berman (who wrote the book after the loss of his daughter)… and “Our Children Forever” and “Walking In The Garden
    of Souls” by George Anderson… I truly hope that God will bring comfort to you at this time… Sincerely and Blessings from, Heidi Handsaker….

  14. James & Ceil Rickard

    Larry,Teresa,grandmother Kathy and the Kennedy family, we wish to send to you our sorrow in your time of grief. May God give you solace and peace.
    With deepest sympathy, Jim and Ceil Rickard

  15. John and Judy Leligdowicz

    Larry, Teresa, Sarah and Grace, Our hearts are heavy with the sadness you are carrying now. We will forever cherish the times we shared with Devin. He was a beautiful and talented soul who touched many of us. May God and the angels hold you close and give you peace and comfort. We love you dearly, and you continue to be in our hearts and prayers. God bless you!
    Love, John, Judy Leligdowicz and family

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