Stephen Kearney - Obituary
Steve was born in Acton, West London on the 6th June 1951 to parents
Stephen and Christina Kearney, Irish immigrants who arrived in 1948
looking for work. Steve was the eldest of two children and went to
school at Faraday Secondary Modern from where he graduated at age
15 unencumbered with such things as qualifications.
He joined the Irish Guards as a Boy Soldier, but after 3 months he
bought himself out through a combination of home sickness and his
widowed mother finding it hard to cope. Steve's father died when he
was just 11 years of age. He became an apprenticed motor mechanic,
but the pay was so paltry, he kicked that into touch and became a
butcher instead. In 1968 or thereabouts, he threw in the meat cleaver
and joined a top firm of funeral directors (The Royal Funeral Directors)
where he learned to make coffins and many other aspects of the trade.
Still hankering for the military, as a young teenager, Steve joined the
Army Cadets in the days when they still wore ammo boots. Strutting his
stuff in full uniform in front of a young lady he'd spotted on the opposite
side of the road, he skidded and landed on his backside, much to her
amusement. The young lady was Sheila and they were both just sweet
sixteen. Clearly, Steve fell for Sheila in more ways than one and they
married on the 6th January 1968, moving to Medway in 1973.
During the late 1980's Steve left the Funeral Director's profession and
became a Patient Transport Driver for the Kent Ambulance Service.
Winding the clock back, upon becoming too old to belong to the Army
Cadets, Steve joined the Territorial Army, badged firstly with the Corps
of Royal Engineers, switching briefly to the 10th Para's, then the Royal
Irish Rangers and finally re-badging with the Royal Electrical & Me-
chanical Engineers (REME), affectionately known as 'Rough Engineer-
ing Made Easy', or 'Reck 'Em & Mend 'Em', or 'Royal Engineers Minus
Education', something over which he was always able later to share a
joke with his newly found REA comrades.
Being a man of the people, it was only a matter of time before Steve,
along with Sheila, became involved in and engaged with local politics,
first becoming elected as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in 2000 and
remaining so for the following 11 years. Steve's high point was upon his
election as Deputy Mayor for 2005/2006. He was a popular Councillor
within his ward of Gillingham South and among other Councillors from
across the political divide.