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Hostess Jeannine Kennedy, 84

By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 7, 2005; Page B05

Jeannine F. Prevot Kennedy, 84, the Paris-born hostess for three French restaurants in Washington for almost a quarter-century, died Dec. 21 at the Woodbine Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Alexandria, as a result of complications brought on by strokes.

She worked the front door at L'Auberge Chez François restaurant from 1968 to 1975, when it was in downtown Washington, and for 19 years at L'Escargot in D.C.'s Cleveland Park and at La Chaumière in Georgetown. Gerard Pain, who owns both restaurants, called her "outstanding" as a person as well as an employee.

Mrs. Kennedy was honored for work in the restaurant business.

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"She got along with old people, young people. Any demand from a customer, she was able to meet. Any difficult customer, she would say, is my boyfriend, and she would laugh," Pain said. "Gosh, they don't make women anymore like her."

Mrs. Kennedy probably met more famous people than the average Washington resident, but she enjoyed meeting all kinds of people, said her son, and relished the opportunity to use her French on a regular basis. She retired in 1992 after winning second place as the Food Service Employee of the Year from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington.

Born in Paris, she was raised and educated in France and Belgium. Although her formal education was disrupted by World War II, she managed to complete her studies in business and finance and learned to speak English fluently. When the Allies arrived in France, she was hired by the Americans as a clerk-typist. She was reassigned to Heidelberg, Germany, where she worked as an accountant and bookkeeper for the U.S. European Command and then helped administer the National Savings and Life Insurance Program at the headquarters of U.S. Army Europe.

While working there in 1950, she met David Kennedy, an Army postal inspector. They married and, for the next 16 years, lived in Arlington; Seattle; Madrid; Frankfurt, Germany; and Orleans, France. They settled in Arlington in 1967.

Mrs. Kennedy volunteered around the world as a Cub Scout den mother and as a Gray Lady at numerous hospitals. While living in Arlington, she volunteered at D.C. General Hospital.

Survivors include her husband of 54 years, of Arlington; a son, Patrick Kennedy of Arlington; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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