Kenneth J. Kavanagh, 85, among the first projectionists to install and operate an automated theater, died Friday (Feb. 23, 2001) in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda, after a long illness.
During four decades of volunteer service, Kavanagh provided many hours of film entertainment at Kenmore Mercy Hospital, St. Mary's School for the Deaf and other institutions.
In 1993, he was named Man of the Year by the Kenmore Mercy Hospital Men's Sustaining Society.
He worked as chief projectionist for General Cinema Theaters of Western New York and as a stagehand for local commercial theaters.
He was a member of the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees and the Movie Picture Machine Operators and served in almost every elected post, including president and secretary. While he was in office, his local became the first to provide paid vacations, health insurance and a pension plan for its members.
Kavanagh was born in Buffalo and graduated from Technical High School. He attended the University of Buffalo evening division for journalism and graduated from Erie County Technical Institute as an electrical technician.
In June 1940, he married Helen E. Griffin, and they settled in Kenmore. He was a member of St. Paul's Catholic Church and its Holy Name Society.
He served on the board of directors of Hopevale School in Hamburg for 13 years.
In addition to his wife, survivors include four sons, Kenneth of North Tonawanda, Owen and Patrick, both of Kenmore, and Dennis of Balston Spa; 13 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial was offered today in St. Paul's Church, Kenmore, after prayers in D. Lawrence Ginnane Funeral Home, Kenmore.
Burial was in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.