Born November 5th, 1924 in Ballyfarnin, Ireland, she was the youngest of five children to Bridget White and Michael Feeley. Growing up with her siblings Mary, Kathleen, Michael, and Eileen; they all lived in a one-bedroom house and had one chicken, a cow and a small potato farm; Attracta would always say, “We didn’t know we were poor”.
At the age of 18 in 1942 Attracta moved to Birmingham, England to pursue a career in nursing and initially worked in a mental institution. She stayed in Birmingham for one year then while on vacation decided to not go back to work. In 1944 she enlisted in the British Air Force in Yorkshire, England. She stayed in the British Air Force for 3 ½ years tending to wounded soldiers and helping airlift the wounded from Germany back to England. One of her years in the service was spent in Badhartzburg, Germany. She also helped transport former prisoners of war (POWs) out Bergen Belsen POW Camp in Germany back to England. When recounting her years in the Air Force she was fond of saying she was the, “Bed pan queen of the WAFs”. After her tour of duty in Germany she went back to England and stayed with her sister Kathleen for 6 months.
After the war, Attracta’s uncle, Jim White, of Staten Island, NY sponsored Attracta to come to America. She was grateful for the opportunity ahead in America but had also considered immigrating to Australia instead. She arrived in the United States in March of 1948 on the SS America. While in New York she lived with her uncle and his family and acted as a nanny to her two cousins. Attracta’s sister, Eileen, and her husband Michael Bracken had immigrated to the United States and moved to San Fernando, CA being sponsored by a cousin, Leo Flynn. In October 1948 Attracta left NY and moved to California. Attracta lived with her cousin, Leo Flynn and his family and worked at JC Penny’s in the clothing department. She lived with Leo’s family a little more than a year and then transferred to JC Penney in Santa Monica, Ca. After a couple years she changed employers and started working for Farmers Insurance. At Farmers she typed up claims and met her Bridesmaid Pat Richardson. Since she was a “Patty”, an Irish person, and had a lovely Irish accent Attracta was affectionately nicknamed “Pat” and it stuck. She didn’t mind the nickname since Attracta Feeley seemed to bring some unwanted and unsolicited attention at times. Attracta (Pat) also lived in San Francisco for a bit.
Pat was committed to her Catholic roots and attended dances at the young adult groups in the local parishes. This is where Richard John Kennedy first laid his eyes on, “The most beautiful woman at the dance”. On October 16, 1954 they married at a small Catholic church in Malibu, Ca after three months of dating. In 1955 she officially became a US citizen. After having their first son Brian Patrick in Hollywood, CA the young couple settled in Long Beach CA and quickly added six more children; Kathleen Marie, Kevin Lawrence, John Barry, Mary Margaret “Maggie”, Paul Glenn and Michael Richard.
Pat and Richard provided a wonderful home for their children. In 1968 Richard was transferred to New Jersey as the national credit manager of E.R. Squibb and Sons Inc. The family settled in Marlboro NJ.
Pat had several health set-backs, she was a two-time cancer survivor; first, breast cancer in 1970 and colin cancer in 2010. She also underwent open heart surgery at age 86.
Pat and Richard moved from NJ to back to CA in1980. In 1989 Pat lost her husband, Richard, to lung cancer and never dated or remarried again. She lived in various places in San Diego County, eventually settling in Vista, CA where she lived from 1990 through 2016.
The family continued to grow around her as the matriarch. Son, Brian married Anne Keane and had two sons, Richard John Kennedy and Kevin Patrick Kennedy. Daughter, Kathleen married Salvatore D’Esposito and had three children Adam Francis, Briana Olivia and Mary Theresa. Grandson, Adam Francis D’Esposito has a daughter Annabella Renee Smith. Kathleen remarried Franklin Porter in 1998 and he has 4 children, Franklin, Lisa, Michael and Rebecca. Son, Kevin married Catherine De la Rosa with her daughter Alicia Hannon. Son, John married Pamela McCaleb and has three sons Sean Michael, Trevor Ryan and Colin Patrick. Grandson, Sean Michael Kennedy is soon to be husband to Melissa Clinkenbeard. Daughter, Maggie married Carl Manaster and has a son Christopher Michael Kennedy who is married to Jessie Romero with two children Tallulah Teedy and Max Adrian.
Pat enjoyed taking care of her garden and loved tending to her birds of paradise most. She always kept an Irish themed home full of shamrocks and never failed to offer guests a cup of tea with milk and sugar. She loved a good bargain and shopping at thrift stores. Las Vegas always excited her even though she knew the slots weren’t always in her best interest. She maintained a great sense of humor even into her very last days.
Attracta is preceded in death by her parents, siblings, husband, sons Brian and Michael, daughter-in-law Catherine De la Rosa Kennedy, and grandson Adam Francis D'Esposito.