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Featured Family Member - Kenneth William Kavanaugh

Ken Kavanaugh Jr.


Ken Kavanaugh was born on November 23, 1916 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA to Charles and Lillian Kavanaugh. Ken had an older brother and sister, Charles and Marian. Ken and his family lived through the sacrifice of the 1920's and 1930's Great Depression, then Ken earned All-American honors playing football at Louisiana State University. He then joined the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. But after two Championship years, when the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbour thrust the U.S. into WWII, he signed up to become an Air Force pilot. He earned his pilots wings and flew Anti-Submarine duty in the Caribbean before being sent to England to fly B-24 and B-17 bombers in 1944. He faced death on thirty bombing missions against Hitler's Third Reich.

Ken received the Distinguished Flying Cross for "Extraordinary achievement while serving as commander in the air squadron formations on heavy bombardment missions against the enemy". He then rejoined the Chicago Bears and earned NFL All-Pro honors. For the past forty-five years, Ken has coached and scouted with the New York Football Giants. During his pro football career spanning sixty years as a player, coach, and scout, he won six NFL World Championships, including two Super Bowls.

The respect and loyalty of his friends has been matched only by the inspiration of his sixty-year romance with Ann Porter Kavanaugh. His off-season career included cattle ranching in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California, and lumber and fuel oil businesses in Philadelphia. As a receiver with the Chicago Bears in the 1940s, he was considered the "home-run hitter" and still holds the NFL record for most touchdowns per catch. He is one of the NFL's 300 All-Time Greatest Players, is on the NFL Hall of Fame Team of the '40s, and is on the Chicago Bears All-Time Team.

Ken's achievements have earned him election to the National Collegiate Football Hall of Fame, the LSU Hall of Fame, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, and the Arkansas Hall of Fame.

Ken is cut from the fabric of a generation whose deeds will live forever as examples of honor, courage, character, sacrifice, and community. The Bill Gates of the world have the opportunity to succeed because Ken's generation, facing challenges of cataclysmic proportions, endured. The Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War shaped him. His generation built the framework for America to be the foremost military and economic power. Civil rights, medical advances, and economic opportunity are products of his generations resolve.

Ken and Ann live at the Palm-Aire Resort and Country Club in Sarasota, Florida where they are active in charity and fund raising events. They divide their leisure time between the Country Club and the Anna Maria Island beach. They have two children, Kristy and Ken Jr. Kristy is married to Henry Nehilla and has two boys, Ken and Kevin. Ken Jr. is married to Betty Hammond Kavanaugh and they have three daughters, Virginia, Caroline, and Kathryn.

The biography of Ken Kavanaugh, The Humility of Greatness, is now available. This entertaining and informative sports biography tells the action packed story of Ken's College All-American, World War II, and Pro football adventures.

"Ken Kavanaugh captures a wonderful son-father relationship. In recalling the extraordinary life of a football icon and war hero, Ken Jr. digs deep into his father's past that not only helped mold the game we know today, but also our society. Enjoy. I have."

Frank Gifford, New York Giants All Pro halfback, NFL Hall of Fame member, and broadcaster.

The book may be purchased from Xlibris.com / 1-888-795-4274, BN.com, Amazon.com, Borders.com, or ask your neighborhood bookstore to order The Humility of Greatness.