Alfred Leo Kinney, 71, passed away suddenly at his Jacksonville home October 25, 2022. Mr. Kinney was born in Lake City, Florida, November 15, 1950, to the late Eldridge Kinney and Katharyn G. Stepp, and spent his early years in Fargo, Georgia. But his career path ended up taking him far away from the family’s established timber business putting him on a course in music – specifically the piano, where he excelled.
Mr. Kinney was graduated from Robert E. Lee High School, now known as Riverside High School, and continued his education at Jacksonville University where he earned a bachelor’s degree. But it was the piano that would hold his unwavering love and devotion throughout his life. From the age of six, he was smitten – first watching and listening to an aunt playing the piano in church. By elementary school, his family had moved to Venetia, a neighborhood on Jacksonville’s Westside, and his growing talent was undeniable. Realizing this, his grandmother immediately purchased him a brand new piano to replace his thoroughly worn out one and he became serious about mastering the instrument.
By the age of 15, he was playing for church services and made his “debut” at Island View Baptist Church in Orange Park, Florida, at the recommendation of a family who had heard him play. He would spend the next 27 years playing there. As things progressed, it became evident to Kinney that he could turn this love into a potentially rewarding career. He continued honing his skills by playing Sunday services, weddings, and parties; giving lessons at several local piano and organ stores; and furthering his education under his teacher Robert S. Stepp, a former concert pianist himself, who would later become his stepfather.
Up until the time of his passing, Kinney continued working as a respected and much sought after teacher giving piano lessons from the Blanding Blvd. studio of Stepp, which he took over upon Stepp’s death in 2009. His students were his life and included the very young, the very old, international students, and even a Miss Jacksonville winner. Kinney will be long remembered for his insatiable love for the piano and his students, as well as the extreme pleasure he took – and gave too many – from playing a variety of occasions in North Florida. It was never work to him. Kinney touched many lives and will be remembered as a wonderful brother, uncle, friend, and teacher. He will be sorely missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.
Kinney is survived by a sister, Mary Kinney Smith; a brother-in-law, Steven R. Smith; a nephew S. Risher Smith, Jr. and wife Casey; a niece Katharyn S. Woods and husband Richard; and a great nephew R. Yates Woods, all of Jacksonville.
A graveside service will be held Wednesday morning, November 2, 2022, at 11 am at Fargo Memorial Cemetery.
A Celebration of Life Service for Al will be held on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 2:00pm at Lake Shore Presbyterian Church, 2270 Blanding Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32210.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions in Al’s name to: Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, 10131 Atlantic Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32225.
Roundtree Funeral Home is in charge of the local arrangements.