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03/14/13 - NNHS Newsletter - Furman Kenney

Robert Furman Kenney
(06 Aug 1920 - 11 Mar 2013)

Tupelo (MS) High School Class of @ 1937

Dear Friends and Schoolmates,
 There is more sad news this Thursday morning.  Beloved minister      Rev. Dr. R. Furman Kenney, father of  Bobby Kenney ('66) of VA and Martha Lynn Kenney of KY, passed away at the Chesapeake in Newport News on Monday, March 11, 2013 at the age of 92. 

   His wife,  Evelyn Moore Kenney, preceded him in death on September 05, 2010.

   Dr. Kenney served for many years as the pastor of Parkview Baptist Church, and later as CEO of the Chesapeake, formerly known as the Newport News Baptist Retirement Community.

From the Daily Press - 03/14/13:

               Rev. Dr. R. Furman Kenney


    NEWPORT NEWS - The Rev. Dr. Robert Furman Kenney, Sr., died on the 11th of March, 2013, at the Chesapeake.

He was born on August 6, 1920, in Pontotoc County, MS, the son of Charles Len Kenney and Pansy King Kenney. He grew up in Chesterville, a suburb of Tupelo, MS.

He graduated from the Tupelo High School with "special distinction". He attended the Clarke Memorial College and received his B.A. from Mississippi College in Clinton, MS., graduating Magna Cum Laude. He taught school for one year. The following year he joined the U.S. Navy and was later transferred to the Ninth Marine Regiment of the Third Marine Division serving as a Hospital Corpsman. He saw duty during WWII in California, New Zealand, Guadalcanal and made the assault landings on the islands of Bougainville and Guam.

Dr. Kenney
  In 1944, he married his college sweetheart, the former Evelyn Edwyna Moore of Meridian, MS. They both loved to travel and spent many happy days and weeks seeing the world. Together, they visited the Holy Land, Europe, Alaska and during their final overseas trip, they visited Australia and then New Zealand where they spent time in the places he had spent time as a young Marine.

Following the war, he resumed his education and earned a Master of Divinity Degree and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY. During his seminary days, he had student pastorates. Upon graduation, he became the pastor of the Smithfield Baptist Church and later of the Parkview Baptist Church. His last post of duty was as the CEO of "The Chesapeake" (then known as the Newport News Baptist Retirement Community) a post which he served for nineteen years.

During his retirement years, he served as an interim pastor in several local churches and supplied the pulpit in many other churches. He taught in and was Director of the Boyce Bible School, a subsidiary of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, for several years and also taught in the University of Richmond off-campus school.

He also was a guest lecturer in religion classes at Walsingham Academy in Williamsburg.

Furman was a member of the Newport News Lions Club and served a term as its president. He received the Lions Club Melvin Jones Fellow Award for his service and contributions to the work of the Lions Club. He was active in other civic groups and committees focusing on inter-denominational and inter-racial accord.

He held various positions in the local and state areas of denominational activities and was elected to serve as the President of the Virginia Baptist Pastor's Association. He was a member and served as President for two terms of the Southern Baptist Ministries with the Aging, an organization which has expanded from coast to coast. Locally, he was a pivotal figure in the formation of the Virginia Association of Not-for-Profit Homes for the Aging of which he remains a member emeritus.

He was the author of sermons appearing in the Zondervan's "Pastors Annual" and in "More Southern Baptist Preaching". He wrote a Doctoral Thesis titled: "Jeremiah's Distinctive Contribution to the Hebrew Psalmody". He compiled a two-volume pictorial history of the first thirty years of THE CHESAPEAKE.

He is the author of nine books including: "People Like M'Self", "Lady of Steel", "Murder in the Manse", "Chesterville, the Village at the End of the Road", "King David: My Life as I Remember It", "An Unlikely Saint", "Detective Donovan Tackles a Three Pronged Mystery", and "Pop's Cabin" which he completed in January of this year.

Recently when he reviewed his life, he said he broke it into parts: He was a student, he served his country as a Marine in Combat, he was a minister, he was the CEO of The Chesapeake, he was a teacher, he was a world traveler and he was an author. It has been said that he was a man who transformed himself when his circumstances changed with the passage of time. He made the best out of his opportunities to serve and lived his life to the fullest until his final hours.

He will be missed by many but will always be a part of the lives of those who knew and loved him. He was preceded in death by his wife, Evelyn Moore Kenney, his parents Mr. and Mrs. C. Len Kenney and his sister, Mrs. Sara Lynn Millar. He is survived by his son, COL (Ret) Robert F. Kenney, Jr. and his wife, Mary Jane, of Williamsburg, VA, and by his daughter, Martha L. Kenney of Louisville, KY, and her partner, Ann Deibert of Louisville, KY, by two grandsons, Patrick Kenney of Alexandria, VA, Alex Kenney of Williamsburg, VA, and by a niece, Sarah H. Davis and her husband Dan of Huntsville, AL.

The family will receive friends, Friday March 15th at Peninsula Funeral Home between 6:30 and 8:00. Funeral Services will be held, Saturday at North Riverside Baptist Church at 1:30 with interment to follow at Peninsula Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to North Riverside Baptist Church, 311 Selden Road, Newport News, VA 23606 or to the Benevolence Fund of The Chesapeake, 955 Harpersville Road, Newport News, VA 23601.. View and post condolences on our online guestbook at

Published in the Daily Press on March 14, 2013.

View Guest Book


March 14, 2013
WOW!!!! Heaven is rejoicing over receiving one of the Lord's servants in Furman Kenney. What a giant of a man who served the Lord well until he was called to heaven. I'm sure Evelyn and Furman's reunion was sweet and precious. What an encourager your dad was to so many. He wrote me often here in South Africa. I am blessed to have known him and the giant of a servant he was. Cling to the memories of a wonderful father. Memory is what God gives that death cannot destroy.
Love and prayers,
Bonnie Doughtie
Cape Town, South Africa

~ Bonnie Doughtie, Cape Town, South Africa

March 14, 2013 

You were the light to so many peoples' lives and always a ray of sunshine. I loved you and think God for you being a part of my life. Your spirit and memory will life on in our hearts forever. God Bless

~ Janice Mallory, Hampton, Virginia

March 14, 2013 
Your presence will be greatly missed, Dr. Kenney. You will remain in our hearts forever.

March 14, 2013

Furman was an amazing man. I remember when I was a child in the sanctuary at North Riverside; he took time to teach me how to play 'How Great Thou Art', on a Wednesday night. He always had a kind word and a smile for all. When I told my son and mother he had moved to Heaven, both said “Heaven gained a wonderful angle in that man.” Rest in peace, dear man. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.

March 14, 2013

Furman, we miss you so much already! Our pain is deep, but we find comfort knowing that you are in heaven with the Lord whom you served so well. What amazing work you have done here on earth. Your spirit will live on in all the many lives you have touched. What an honor and privilege to have been able to spend time with you. What a blessing you have been to me and our family. We love you!!

Martha, Bob, and family, know that you are in our hearts and prayers during this difficult time and we send you our love.

March 14, 2013    

What a life he has lived serving our Lord. We have heard him speak so many times and were blessed. One time we remember well is at Eagle Eyrie when the Pal Lodge was dedicated. Our sympathy is extended to his family.

~ Marvin & Jean Brown, Providence Baptist Church, Ordinary, Virginia

March 14, 2013    

God's Gift to us on the Peninsula! He has completed God's work. Angels are singing and I bet Evelyn is also. Praise be to God that he did not suffer too much. I have read most of his books and it is amazing when reading them that I hear Dr. Kenney telling the story. I loved Dr. Kenney! I grew up attending Parkview Baptist Church and Dr. Kenney became one of the most influential men in my life. Yes, sad as a loss on earth but happy that he is now in his Heavenly Home. Well Done, Dr. Kenney.

March 14, 2013   

Bob and Martha and family,
Oh what a profound influence your father had on my life. He and your mother were such dear friends of my parents. I suspect there's a little catching up in heaven right now - or does that all happen in a twinkling? In the past year we so enjoyed getting to know your dad again. So many memories between our families. With much love and prayers, Bob and Dorothy Barkley Bryson

~ Dorothy and Bob Bryson, Knoxville, Tennessee


March 14, 2013 

Dr. Kenney was truly a Joy! That's what I felt every time I saw him. I will miss that joy and the hug and pat on the back we would share.

~ Jeff McGlohn, Newport News, Virginia

March 14, 2013   

Dr. Kenney married us in 1960 at Parkview Baptist Church. He would always tell us when we would meet this is one marrage that worked.Thank you Dr Kenney we love and miss you God Bless.

March 14, 2013 

Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you mourn Furman's death, but we rejoice in the knowledge that he went peacefully to be with our Lord.

~ Glenn and Donna Shelton, Beldem, Mississippi

March 14, 2013 

Dr. Kenney was a great influence on many. He was a well loved man. He will be missed. My mother loved him and many times he would come to our house to speak with her as she wasn't a regular church attendee. He was always there when he was needed. He was one of two pastors at her funeral. He made a difficult time bearable and for that alone, I will always love him. His family will ever remain in our prayers.

March 14, 2013   

Bobby, I was so sorry to read of your father's death on facebook. While I didn't know him personally, I certainly knew of him through so many who were friends of yours, his congregation and through association with my former pastor, Rev. Milne. You were so blessed to have him so many years! I'll be certainly keeping you and your family in my prayers.

~ Jeanette McDonald Hornsby, West Columbia, South Carolina

March 14, 2013   

I attended Boyce Bible in the 1990's and remember fondly Dr. Furman's teaching and more importantly, his encouragement as I was growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord. May he enjoy seeing the reward for his labor, for he bore fruit in me.

~ LaMonte Williams, Newport News, Virginia

March 14, 2013 

To the family of Dr. Kenney,
I had the pleasure of knowing Dr. Kenney at North Riverside Baptist Church in the 90s. He always had a kind word and his love for his Lord was reflected in his words. I miss him, but know Heaven has gained one of its own.

~ Art Booth, Newport News, Virginia

March 14, 2013 

  It was such a joy to attend bible study at the Chesapeake with the person I was caring for. I would come home and tell Rube about Dr. Kenney and his teachings. He was a friend from many years ago in the Lion's Club and such a servant of the Lord. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this time.

~ Rube and Judith Brett, Newport News, Virginia

March 14, 2013 

   We have much love and admiration for "Uncle" Furman. Yeah, you real nieces and nephews have to share that title with us. You see, Uncle Furman and my dad were college roommates. After my dad died in 2007, Uncle Furman searched me out and we have communicated almost on a weekly basis by e-mail since that time. He always had words of wisdom to share and encouraged us in so many ways. I will dearly miss those communications. Dad and Uncle Furman have much catching up to do and I know they will have an eternity to do just that. 

Uncle Furman took this picture of Mom, Dad, and Miss Evelyn on Pensacola Beach after college graduation or so.

March 14, 2013   

Dr. Kenney was pastor at my home church, Parkview in 1956 and officiated at my wedding. Although we left Newport News shortly after that, my parents were active members for many years and Dr. Kenney was very special to us all. He officiated at my family members' funerals as well. He was one of the kindest people I have ever known--part of the great faith he lived. I remember once, while I was living in Miss., that he stopped by unexpectedly just to say hello. He was very special to all our family. We will meet again, dear friend.

~ Unsigned

March 14, 2013   

Bob and Martha,

Out thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

~ Mark and Miriam Waggoner, Hampton, Virginia

March 14, 2013   

Dr. And Mrs. Kenney were learned and loving examples of Christ's love for all and were an important element in my formation from a child to womanhood. That foundation prepared me and many others for lives of service. Dr. Kenney was one of the finest people I have ever known. My deepest condolences to Bobby and Martha and all the family. I am sure Dr. Kenney and Evelyn are rejoicing and resting in the Divine. They lived fully and well.
I will always remember our Parkview and Highland Court days with gratitude and affection.

~ Frances Goodson, Ellicott City, Maryland


March 14, 2013 



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March 14, 2013   

   Our deepest condolences are extended to Dr. Kenney's family, friends, and former parishioners at this difficult time.

  Y'all take good care of each other!  TYPHOONS FOREVER! We'll Always Have Buckroe!

                          Love to all, Carol





Carol Buckley Harty
7020 Lure Court
Fayetteville, NC 28311-9309

It Is Well with My Soul

Words by Horatio G. Spafford, 1873
Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1876

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, tho' trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious tho't:
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so" it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

"It Is Well with My Soul" midi (sequenced by Brian M. Ames) and lyrics courtesy of - 11/14/08

Greg Olsen Paintings courtesy of – 01/27/05

Blackwork Flowers Divider Line clip art courtesy of - 08/12/04

Animated Navy and USMC Flags clip art courtesy of - 06/18/03

Lions International Logo courtesy of - 02/06/08

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