James Leonard Kennedy was born on November 12, 1933 in Wilmington, Delaware, to Frances “Frank” Joseph and Elizabeth “Betty” Kennedy, and was the eldest of four children. His brother, Robert, was subject to severe asthma attacks. The family moved from state to state in search for a climate that would restore his health, making their way south and then gradually west. They reached Oregon in the early 1950’s and bought property in Melrose, a rural district outside of Roseburg.
James graduated from Oregon State University in June of 1956 with a degree in Animal Husbandry. He was a member of Army ROTC and was commissioned shorty after graduation. In August 1956, James married Sharron Long of Roseburg. In December, the couple journeyed to Fort Benning, Georgia, for officer’s training camp. After three months of training he was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, during his two years of active duty.
Lieutenant Kennedy started his Army career as a company executive officer. He was very quickly assigned to the First U.S. Army rifle team when he qualified as an expert rifleman. He won first place at two Fort Dix rifle competitions in 1957. His leadership and coaching skills were recognized early and he was put in charge of training the team. The team earned third place at the United Services of New England competition in 1958. Lieutenant Kennedy continued to earn many more marksmanship medals locally and regionally and earned notable recognition from the National Rifle Association.
At the end of his tour of duty James, Sharron, and 18-month old James William moved to Redding, California, where James’ father had established a frozen food and home freezer business. James worked with his father as part owner of the business for eight years, handling the purchasing and supervising the meat processing, food distribution, and delivery. During these years, their daughters Julianne, Laura, and Elizabeth were born. Looking to a future with four growing children, the time commitment and meager income of a small business owner lost its appeal to James. In reassessing his prospects, he remembered his fascination and aptitude with literature and language, and in June of 1969, after two years of study at Chico State University, he earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a secondary teaching credential.
James began his teaching career at Weaverville High School in the Trinity Mountains of Northern California. Weaverville, the county seat of Trinity County, had a population of around 3,000 at that time. In addition to teaching six classes of English, James was assistant football and baseball coach. He taught driver’s education and a night class in Writing 101 for the Shasta College adult education program. He also mentored the high school ski club and was determined to create a sports program that included wrestling and tennis so that boys of all sizes could participate. He enjoyed writing and teaching poetry. He was constantly striving to find new ways to get through to his students with poetry, music, Shakespeare, and books such as JR Tolkien’s, The Hobbit.
On September 25, 1973, James, fellow teacher Robert Olmsted, and Steve Searcy, the superintendent of the local grade school, decided to fly to a teaching conference in Chico, California. It was to be James’ first flight in an aircraft. It was only a short journey—two hours by car—but their excitement over the experience of flying overruled practicality. Undaunted by a heavy ground fog which blanketed the airport, they determined that they could punch through it and fly above. Unfortunately, the pilot had only minimal training in the use of instruments. He became disoriented and after circling for a long time over Weaverville, the plane crashed near the high school grounds. All three men were killed on impact.
Elizabeth “Beth” F. Kennedy, James Kennedy’s youngest daughter also helped establish this ROTC Scholarship Fund to help others achieve their education and leadership potential. Beth graduated from OSU in 1987 with a degree in business, with the assistance of a two-year Army ROTC scholarship. She went on to become a Medical Service Corps officer and graduate of the Army’s Initial Entry Rotary Wing course as a medical evacuation pilot. Beth contributed to this scholarship fund as a tribute to her father’s memory. In the brief four years of his teaching career, James Kennedy touched the lives and warmed the hearts of many. The grieving Kennedy family received many letters from community members who valued his work with both students and adults. A water fountain was erected and still stands in the courtyard at Weaverville High School in memory of the three teachers.
James “Jim” Schwab enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and received his initial training in San Antonio, Texas, as a ground radar specialist. After basic training, he was assigned to Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan, where he met his beautiful bride Catherine “Kay,” who was singing in the church choir on base. With all the red tape to go through to satisfy both the U.S. and Japanese governments, they were married three times in one week, with June 12, 1954, as the official date.
Jim’s career in the Air Force spanned thirty-three years in the radar/electronic avionics field, during which he rose to the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force. Going to night school for twenty-three years, Jim also received his bachelor’s degree in business with a minor in psychology in 1973 and a master’s degree in psychology in 1974. He concluded his career at Beale Air Force Base in California as the avionics maintenance squadron supervisor, servicing the famous SR 71 and U-2 Spy planes. He retired from the Air Force in 1984.
Kay was born in Tokyo, Japan, and has three brothers and two sisters. Her mother Ai was the monarch of the family and raised all her children during a time of war in Japan. Kay and her family fled their burning home during the U.S. bombing raids on Tokyo in World War II. In her early adulthood, Kay worked at Tachikawa Air Force Base as a seamstress and a housekeeper. She accepted the Catholic faith from friends at the church on base and has loved serving her new country, America, with Jim in the Air Force. Kay moved twenty-two times during Jim’s Air Force career.
Jim and Kay have four sons and several grandchildren. The Schwab Family has a long history of service in the Armed Forces. Jim’s father served in World War I in the Navy as an ensign and his son Dan served in the Army for 24 years and was the Professor of Military Science at Oregon State University from 1999 to 2003. The importance and impact of military service and a college education has played a significant role in the entire Schwab family, and through the generous donations of the Schwab sons and daughters-in-law, this scholarship is established in honor of Jim and Kay. The family—Mike and Shirle of Lake Arrowhead, California; Dan and Rochelle of Corvallis, Oregon; Tom and Linda, of Grand Terrace, California.; and Jim and Michele of Fresno, California—takes great pride in awarding scholarship assistance to an Army or Air Force student in pursuit of a degree and service to our great country.
Emilio and Constancia Sibayan emigrated from the Philippines in 1953, and were married on February 18, 1961. The couple settled in Salem, Oregon, in 1970. During World War II, they spent their early teenage years growing up under the Imperial Japanese forces occupation and understand the meaning of freedom and its cost more than most. Emilio became a U.S. citizen in 1969 and retired from the Oregon Department of Forestry in 1990. Constancia became a U.S. citizen in 1983 and retired as a registered nurse from the Salem Hospital in 1989. They have three children and three grandchildren.
Jerome Sibayan, Emilio and Constancia’s son, was commissioned as a Corps of Engineer officer through the Army ROTC program in June 1988 and graduated in civil engineering from Oregon State University in December 1988. Following the Engineer Officer Basic Course at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, Jerome initially served in Germany as a platoon leader in the 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead). He and his unit were deployed to the Middle East for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Following the Engineer Officer Advance Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Jerome served as a staff officer in the 1st Cavalry Division. He took command of B Company, 8th Engineer Battalion and deployed to Panama for Operations Safe Haven and Safe Passage. Other assignments included Readiness Group (Fort Devens, MA); US Environmental Protection Agency (Boston, MA); Resident Engineer (Brooks AFB, San Antonio, TX); Area Commander for Central America (Honduras); Deputy Chief of the USAREUR Operations Center (Heidelberg, Germany); Director of Public Works (Wuerzburg-Kitzingen-Giebelstadt, Germany) and Chief of Doctrine-Training-Organization for the Stryker Transformation Team (Fort Benning, GA).
Jerome married the former Juanita Maria Hanley from Carlow, Ireland in 1993. He obtained professional engineer licensure in 1993 and earned a master of engineering degree in civil engineering from Idaho State University in 2002. Jerome and his parents early on recognized the need to help ROTC students with their education and were among the first supporters of the ROTC Endowed Scholarship Funds. Jerome was instrumental in creation of this fund, pledging support before the fund was officially designated. His first comment was, “We need to think immense.”