PORTSMOUTH ; Kenneth Fernald, 59, of Portsmouth, died of natural causes at his home on Friday, Oct. 10, 2008.
Born in Eliot, Maine, on March 11, 1949, he was the youngest son of Carl S. and Matilda E. (Hobbs) Fernald. Ken attended local schools and was a member of the first graduating class of Marshwood High School in 1967.
In his early years of ministry, Ken taught reading at a local Christian school and was the host of a television and radio show called "Born Again New England" along with the radio program "The Lord is On Your Side." As relayed a number of years ago during an interview, Ken said he loved what he was doing, but God had other things in store for him. Ken looked back at his radio ministry and said, "I learned not to put a question mark where God had put a period."
Following a self-described tumultuous teenage period, Ken left his past behind and gave his life to the Lord. He became known to many in New England as the Burl Ives of Christian music and more recently as "New England's Own Gospel Singer."
Ken began his music ministry in earnest in 1980. In 1986, music became his full-time ministry. Ken's personal appearances throughout New England offered hope, comfort and encouragement to all who were blessed to hear him. A concert with Ken offered all who attended an opportunity to appreciate his music ministry and New England humor at the same time. Ken's recordings express the praises of a humble man whose life was completely transformed and blessed by the grace of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Having freely received from the Lord, Ken freely gave of his time, talents, and resources in order to share the love of Christ with others.
Ken is survived by his two brothers and their spouses, George and Sheila of Cornelius, N.C., and Richard and Donna of Huntersville, N.C.; a sister-in-law, Barbara Fernald of Eliot, Maine; and several nieces and nephews. Ken is also survived by his close friends, John and Susan Crothers and family of Eliot, Maine; Donna Frautten of Bangor, Maine; and by many other friends throughout New England.
He was predeceased by his parents and his brother Ronald Fernald.
A funeral will be held on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008, at 10 a.m. in the Bethel Assembly of God Church on Market Street in Portsmouth. Visiting hours will be held at the church from 6-9 Friday evening, Oct. 17.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ken's memory to the Ken Fernald Memorial Scholarship Fund to help a deserving student with formal training for Christian ministry. Please send donations to the following address: PO Box 4461, Portsmouth NH 03802- 4461.
Online condolences may be made by visiting www.jspelkeyfuneralhome.com
. Arrangements are entrusted to the J.S. Pelkey Funeral Home.