Rockport High School 1942
Back Row: Left-Right: Nell Curtis, Edward L. Thomasson, Weldon S. Bratcher, Martha
Middle Row: L-R: H. T. Kennedy, Margaret Allen, Madelyn Duncan, Kathleen
Vinson, Walter L. Burden.
Seated: L-R: Pete Curtis, Pauline Maples, Lois Robertson,
Mildred Miller, Everett Barnard.
This 1942 Rockport High School Graduation Class had thirteen graduates. After
graduating, seven young girls and six young boys entered the adult world and made
Rockport a better town as well as the world a better place to live.
When this 1942 class started high school, Germany was invading European Countries
and Japan was invading the islands in the Pacific. These two countries, along with
Italy and a few other countries, became known as "The Axis". In control by dictators,
they were on a quest to become rulers of the world. The resistance was minimal at
first, but the opposing countries became organized and became know as "The Allies".
On December the seventh of 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and America declared
war on Japan. In the Pacific Island areas, the Japanese Military was a force to
be reckoned with until the United States entered the battles. The Pearl Harbor
attack awoke a snoozing giant, and in January 1942 a US Submarine sank their first
Japanese warship. The turning point in the war occurred a few months later with a
decisive victory for the United States against Japan in the Battle of Midway.
Squadrons of U. S. torpedo planes and dive bombers from ENTERPRISE, HORNET, and
YORKTOWN attacked and destroyed four Japanese carriers, a cruiser, and damage
another cruiser and two destroyers. The U. S. was not without damages at the carrier
YORKTOWN was lost. From this point on, and until the end of the war, the United
States Military started reclaiming the previous held Pacific Islands that Japan
This 1942 Graduating Class started the school year with doubts of a victory in
the war. Prior to their graduation, Japan was receiving very little resistance
in the conquest of the Pacific and Germany was having very little opposition,
and on their march to Russia. Nine months later, the war effort had improved
and a complete victory of World War II seemed inevitable. Although, the outlook
of victory was improved, this class knew that most would have to serve in the
military. The six young boys had to grow up quickly and morph from being high
school students to becoming young men, as soldiers, to help assure our freedom.
The seven young girls would also be affected by the war and they developed quickly
into young women that would also help assure a victory for the allies. Most of
them knew that they would have to wait for their sweethearts to return home after
serving in the military.
Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the 1942 Rockport High School Graduates.
As you can see, I do not have information on all of the graduates. I have heard
of most of the graduates, but do not have much information about some. Others, I
have more information. If you have any type of picture on any of these graduates,
or any information on them and are willing to share, I would be glad to add that
material to this web page. It does not have to be much. Just enough to account
for some of the sixty plus years that have elapsed since this graduation party
left school and made their mark in history. I can work with you in getting any
material that you have added to this page. Thanks.
I have no information on the following graduates. Help would be appreciated and
used if available.
Margaret Ruth Allen
Weldon S. Bratcher
Walter Lee Burden
Nell Susan Curtis
Guess that Nell knew what she wanted in life, even before she graduated. I am not
aware of her life before she married H. T. Kennedy. Nell and H. T. probably waited
until H. T. was discharged from the Army before they got married. My first
recollection of the married couple was of them living next to H. T.'s parents in
Rockport. Robert and Ida Mae Kennedy lived west of where the Presbyterian Church
stands today. Robert was a coal miner and Ida Mae was a homemaker. H. T. and
Nell purchased a house across the road from Robert and Ida Mae and started their
family which consisted of one boy. The pair tried a few business ventures before
H. T. started working for Ken Coal Mine. During this early years of their marriage
Neil was very active in the Rockport PTA, the Presbyterian Church, and other
activities that related to making Rockport a better town to live and to raise a
family. H. T. loved the Green River and Nell joined him in the swimming and boating
activities. Nell died at an early age and Rockport and Ohio County lost a very
good citizen and life long worker for the betterment of the community.
This page will be left in the construction stage for now in hopes that someone can
add to this page. Please feel free to send me a picture of Nell in her adult life
and more information about her would be appreciated. Thanks.
H. T. Kennedy
H. T. was a good athlete, especially a good basketball player, in high school, as
well as most boys that attended the old school at Rockport. After graduation from
RHS, H. T. was drafted into the army and served his country. Returning from the
war, as a hero, he married Nell Curtis and settled in this small river town to
raise a family. After a few business ventures and other work trials, H. T. got
a job with Peabody Coal Company. A son was added to this family and with a good
job, the Green River near by, and a home in Rockport, H. T. was a happy camper.
I am not sure if H. T. finished his working career with Ken Mine or if he
transferred to another mine. It seems that he may have gone to Homestead Mine.
Regardless, he retired from Peabody.
Nell Kennedy died at a relatively young age leaving H. T. the responsibility of
being a father and a mother to his young son. Later in life, H. T. remarried Emma
Rhea Ashby. Emma Rae had a son from a previous marriage and H. T. had a son. H.
T. and Emma Rae became parents of two children, a boy and a girl, thus it was his,
hers, and theirs as far as children were concerned. Their two children settled in
Louisville to raise families of their own and H. T. and Emma Rae moved to Louisville
to be close to their grandchildren.
KENNEDY, HARLEN THOMAS "H.T." SR., 88, of Louisville, passed away on Tuesday,
March 26, 2013 in Louisville.
H.T. was born in Rockport, KY, on July 22, 1924 to parents, Robert and Ida Mae
Kennedy. During World War II, H.T. fought for his country in Europe and received
a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. After returning home to Rockport, H.T. worked in
the coal mines for 39 years. In 1960 he married his high school sweetheart, Emma
Rhea Ashby from Centertown, KY. H.T. was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, a
Boy Scout leader, and a member of the Freemasons. At the time of his death, H.T.
was a member of Beulah Presbyterian Church in Louisville.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Emma Rhea (Ashby) Kennedy; sister, Juanita
Kennedy Park of Rockport, KY; children, Harlen Kennedy Jr. (Brenda) of Calhoun, KY,
Paul Walton (Jan) of Westminster, CO, John Kennedy (Kelly) of Crestwood, KY, and
Peri Jacobson (Bruce) of Louisville; grandchildren, Robert Kennedy, Reggie Kennedy,
Shane Kennedy, Carly Kennedy, Zachary Kennedy, Sean Jacobson, Emily Jacobson and
Michelle Hopper; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
His funeral is 10 a.m. Friday EDT at Beulah Presbyterian Church, 6701 Bardstown
Road, Louisville, KY, 40291, with burial in Rose Hill Cemetery, Central City, KY,
at noon CDT. Visitation is 3-7 p.m. Thursday at Fern Creek Funeral Home, 5406
Bardstown Road, Louisville.
Memorial gifts: his church memorial fund or Parkinson's Disease.
To view more about H. T. click on the following link.
H. T. Kennedy
To view H. T.'s Soldier Page, click on the following link.
H. T. Kennedy-Soldier
Information unavailable for the following graduates. Again, help would be appreciated.
Edward Lee Thomasson
Edward attended the 2008 Rockport High School Reunion and I was able to meet him
and to get a good picture. I have the picture, but not much other information.
If you can be of help in this area, please send me some material on Ed and I
will update his web page. Thanks in advance.
Click on the following link for a picture and a short write-up of Ed.
Martha Lee Turley