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Ex-Parks Chief, Smithsonian Head, St. Paul Native Kennedy Dies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former National Park Service director Roger Kennedy, who staunchly defended his agency from budget cuts, has died at age 85. He had melanoma.

Kennedy led the parks agency from 1993 to 1997. He also served as director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in a widely varied career that included stints at NBC news and as an official in the Eisenhower administration, where he worked in three Cabinet-level departments.

Kennedy presided over the creation of eight new national parks and led the agency’s effort to establish a presence on the then-emerging World Wide Web.

Current Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis called Kennedy “a Renaissance man” and said he led the agency effectively and passionately during a difficult time.

Kennedy was born in St. Paul, Minn., in 1926.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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