James F. Kenney Sr., 83, a retired firefighter and father of Mayor Kenney, died Tuesday, Dec. 4, at Jefferson Frankford Hospital.
Mr. Kenney died suddenly, according to a brief statement from the mayor's office that asked the public to respect the family's privacy.
Mr. Kenney worked as a Philadelphia firefighter for 22 years, retiring in 1980.
He and his wife, Barbara, raised three sons and a daughter in a 2½-bedroom rowhouse on the 300 block of Cantrell Street, a narrow, one-way street in a blue-collar South Philadelphia neighborhood.
Mr. Kenney moonlighted delivering flowers and doing other jobs to make ends meet and help send the children to Catholic school. The future mayor attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel grade school and St. Joseph's Preparatory School.
One of Mr. Kenney's side jobs was at the Spectrum, the former South Philadelphia sports and entertainment arena. Mr. Kenney would bring home his children broken hockey sticks that Flyers players damaged on the ice.
Mr. Kenney and his wife moved to Washington Township, Gloucester County, many years ago.
At Mayor Kenney's 2016 inauguration, his father looked on proudly from an Academy of Music balcony. During the swearing-in, the new mayor spoke about the long hours his father had worked putting out fires.
"He worked for all of Philadelphia's families," Mayor Kenney said. "And that meant that sometimes, he was even going to be required to put other families before our own. … Looking back, I see how extraordinary the sacrifice was that both my parents made."
In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Kenney is survived by grandchildren.