Dr. Rev. R. Furman Kenney Sr.
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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. 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 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.

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Published in Daily Press on Mar. 14, 2013.
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Memories & Condolences
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50 entries
May 10, 2013
It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of Dr. Kenney. I accompanied him to Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight to see the WWII Memorial. All I can say is that is was my distinct Honor to to be with him that day. We remained in contact following the trip either via e-mail or at the Chesapeake. He was always the consummate gentleman. Although I knew him only for the last few years, I admired him beyond measure. I had heard that he was recovering from a fall but only learned of his passing today. I have several of his books. I will miss him.
Doug Harshbarger
April 20, 2013
I was so sad today to find out about Dr. Kenney. He was a wonderful man of God and so talented. I valued his friendship and will miss him very much. I will be praying for the family. In Christian Love, Ellen Braman
Ellen Braman
March 21, 2013
Just read about Dr. Kenney's death yesterday. We were watching a 1986 Billy Graham Crusade and I told my Wife, “every time I see Billy Graham I think of Dr. Kenney”. She asked me if Dr. Kenney was still alive, and I said I thought he was. I Googled his name and was stunned by the news. Although not unexpected, he was 93, you always wish someone like Dr. Kenney would never die. Without a doubt, he will live forever in my heart, and I will never forget him. When he conducted the funerals of my Father in 1964, my Grandmother in 1965, my Mother in 1991, and my Stepfather in 1998, he would always say, “One day we'll all meet in Heaven”. Dr. Kenny, please say hello to them up there, and if you could, save a place for me. Thank you for all you did.

Craig Eubank
Frederick Eubank
March 19, 2013
The entry dated March 14 which begins with the words "Dr. Kenney was pastor of my home church, Parkview, in 1956----for some reason my name was not on it. I, and my whole family, loved Dr. Kenney deeply. Just want you to know that entry was from me, Frances Lee Thomas Lane.
March 19, 2013
Dear Bobby and Martha,
I was sad to hear of the passing of your dad. I know that he is in a much better place, but I know that you will all miss him. I have such fond memories of your dad. He will always be to me an example of what a godly man should be like. May God bless you and yours with comforting memories.
God bless
Fred and Sandra (Worsham) McConnell
March 19, 2013
In loving memory of a wonderful Pastor.
Many fond memories of Parkview Baptist.
Margaret (Conner) Hines
March 19, 2013
To have seen him so few times, Furman was a favorite person of mine. My mother and father loved him very much. In fact, I wanted him to conduct my wedding in 1966, but he had a revival and couldn't do it. I cherish the letter concerning his memories of the Kenney gatherings in MS that he wrote to me when my mother Wilma, his first cousin, died. You have my sincere sympathy at the loss of such a wonderful father.

Daughter of Wilma Kenney Skutt
Barbara Skutt Newsom
March 18, 2013
Martha and Bob: It must be so rewarding to read these remembrances of your dad and see the immense love and profound respect so many people have for him. I have such good memories of him and will always value the time I was able to spend with your family because of my early (and lasting) friendship with Martha. As our pastor, he was my earliest spiritual inspiration and was such a comfort to my mother through many of her life's challenges.
My love to you in this time of sorrow and in this time of joy in celebration of a life so well lived.
Karen Wilds
March 18, 2013
Hey Martha, so sorry for the loss of your parents. I can still picture you and them like it was yesterday. Even though its been 40 years . Carson
March 18, 2013
Furman and I spent many hours through the years talking about the issues of ministry at the monthly Peninsula Baptist Association Pastor's Meeting. He was always quick minded, deep hearted and devoted to Christ. I will miss him.
Rev. James C Weston
Menchville Baptist Church
March 17, 2013
Dr. Kenney was a great man. Heavens gain is our loss. He always had an uplifting, encouraging spirit, a ready smile, and a prayer for everyone. I had the utmost respect for him, as did my children, Brian Crawford and Kim Crawford Lamm.
Howard Crawford
March 16, 2013
"Well done, good and faithful servant!"
Rev. Mark Baridon
March 16, 2013
When I came to the Peninsula over 40 years ago one of the first Pastors I met was Dr. Kenney. I was so wet behind the ears. He introduced me to many pastors and helped me "cut my teeth" in ministry. Over the years our friendship grew and it was always a pleasure to bump into him. Every conversation was a gift from him and God. He will be missed by all who knew him, but heaven is even a better place with him there. Deanna and I will continue to pray for the family in their loss. Ike and Deanna Newingham
Ike Newingham
March 16, 2013
One of my greatest memories is the wonderful leadership he gave to the Baptist home and how much he loved my grandmother, Mildred Lotz.
Deanna Newingham
March 16, 2013
Bobby, I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your dear father. I was so close to him for many years. He performed the Memorials for my grandparents, parents, brother, & other members of my family. He kept in close touch with my husband and I for over 30 yrs & he meant so much to us. We have his books, which we value & always will. He was such a dear man, and so was your mom. We went down to the home many times to see them. He will be greatly missed. You are in our thoughts & prayers. You were fortunate to have him for so many years. He was a dear & loving friend. Take comfort in knowing he is at peace.
God Bless!
Brenda (Eakes) & Glen Insley
March 16, 2013
Martha and family, Carrie and I send our sincere condolences in the loss of your wonderful Dad. It was my privilege to minister with him and know him as my friend and truly great pastor. both Evelyn and Furman were members of our Adult Choir when I was minister of music at North Riverside, and I upon occasion, I would seek his theological council on musical texts I was considering for the choir. His kind gentle spirit and quick since of humor were a blessing. Mom and Dad are together once more in Heaven. Blessings, Stan and Carrie Hicks
Stan and Carrie Hicks
March 16, 2013
Thank you God for giving to all of us who knew him such a wonderful man--if you met him he touched your life he and Mrs kenny were my patients at Suburban Clinic where I learn to love them dearly, his oituary speaks for the man he was and even with all that he was a humble man with that beautiful ready smile--our loss her on earth but Heavens gain--so glad you touched my life.
Joanne Miller
March 15, 2013
DEAR KENNEY FAMILY YOUR FAMILY HE GODLY MAN HE LOVES IS SAVIOR JESUS JESUS WITH HIM NOW HE WAS SWEET MAN WE LOVES HIM CANDY RHODY
CANDY RHODY
March 15, 2013
To the Kenney family im sorry for the lost and praying that the family can heal and not forget who he was..
jacqueline mahady
March 15, 2013
We first met Dr. Kenney when Doris
Helbig moved to The Chesapeake. It was our privilege to have known him.
Dr. Kenney was a wonderful servant of
God who genuinely cared for others.
May God bless you all with His peace.
Betty Helbig Collins and Ron Collins
March 15, 2013
I was baptized by Rev. Kenney as a youn girl. Loved Him and his family so very much. Lived down the street on Roanoke ave.from them. They all touched my life. What a great loss. My prayers go out to the family,
Estelle Thomas Jackson
March 15, 2013
I always thought if I needed to see an example of what God is like, I could look at Dr. Kenney. I appreciated his conversations, his wisdom and his teachings as he came and taught lessons in the healthcare unit at The Chesapeake. He visited many people in the healthcare unit. The staff always felt as if we were in the presense of a "celebrity" when he visited healthcare. I hope many of us do more than just remember him----may we take on his characteristics of love, kindness, devotion, and always have a smile or kind word for others.
Deborah Asbell
March 15, 2013
To the Kenney family: I have known Dr.Kenney for many years from many different areas of the Peninsula. His love of the Baptist Home (now the Chesapeake) was so special. My Mom lived there many years and I would see him often there as well as at North Riverside Baptist church. He was a wonderful, spiritual man and will be sadly missed but he blessed so many lives during his ministry here on earth and he will be remembered by many of us. May God bless you with his peace and comfort in your loss but fill your hearts and minds with so many wonderful memories. God bless you.

Patricia Mitchem Bullock Williamsburg
March 15, 2013
What rejoicing in Heaven when Furman joined Evelyn and greeted our Lord whom he had served so faithfully. He was such an inspiration to me and always an encourager.Max often spoke of their growing up days and the happy family times. May you feel God's presence during these days.He loved you dearly and was so proud of each of you.
Julia Kenney
March 15, 2013
Dr. Kenney you will be greatly missed. I will always remember you from Parkview. My prayers & thoughts go to the Kenney family. He was a wonderful man. Joyce Green
March 15, 2013
My prayers & thought go out to the Kenney family. Rev. Kenney was a wonderful person & my preacher for many years. May he rest in peace. Joyce Green
March 15, 2013
Martha and Family, you are in our thoughts and prayers.We are truly blessed to have known your dad and mom for many years . We love them and your family. May God bless you all! love,Valerie Hicks Reavis, Barbara Hicks and Freddie Hicks
March 15, 2013
In the 21 years that I knew Dr. Kenney his welcoming heart and joyous greeting were things that I always looked forward to. In dificult times his listening ear and sage encouragement helped me to remember the things around us are not as powerful as the One who lives within us. I will miss this dear brother in Christ until we meet.
Stephen Wiley
March 15, 2013
Dear Kenney family,what a wonderful man your father was..he touched our family in so many ways while he was at Parkview and after..He was kind enough to come do both my parents funerals. A man who loved God and lived his life accordingly. God bless you during this time.
Charlotte,Rebecca and Bruce (Warren) Miller
March 14, 2013
To the Kenney family,
Thank you for sharing you beloved Father, Grandfather with us and the world. He was an amazing man and friend to all. We loved your Dad and Mom, a wonderful couple. Truly best friends as they shared their love for each other and you all through their stories. Always a smile would greet us and a encouraging word. May you lean on your memories you'll have with you always. Such a Godly man and now God has rewarded him with his wings.
God bless each and everyone of you, now and always.
We will never forget Furman and Evelyn, forever together.
Zack & Ellen Phillips
March 14, 2013
This little light of mine.....I'm going to let it shine..Let it shine..let it shine...in so many lives you have touched...I just read every entry posted of memories, Praise, sorrow, grief, love,family, friends...Your light will continue to shine in this world of ours. You will be missed but we will meet again. Thank you for you witness! Absent from the body; present with the Lord.

Kenney Family,
You are in our prayers and thoughts at this time of your loss.
May our God surround each of you with comfort and peace.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Grace, Peace, and Love,
Mildred, Janet and family
Janet Lockstampfor
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
March 14, 2013
Bob & Martha,

Out thoughts & prayers are with you at this time.
Mark & Miriam Waggoner
March 14, 2013
No words could ever express what a wonderful Christian Man Dr Kenney was. I first met him at the VBH in Newport News in 1973 when my Mother entered to live at the VBH for 13 yrs. He was then administrator and called all the residents, his children. He even went out of town about 3 hrs. away to preach her funeral. When I entered The Chesapeake to live a few yrs. ago, he called me one of his grandchildren. I doubt very seriously if he ever had an enemy. He was one of a kind and a very special person indeed. In fact , he had lived in our neighborhood prior to their entering the Chesapeake.He is already missed very deeply
Bob and Judy Weikle
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.
March 14, 2013
Uncle Furman took this picture of mom, dad and Miss Evelyn on Pensacola Beach after college graduation or so.
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.
Dale (and Eva Susan) Foy
March 14, 2013
It was such a joy to attend bible study @ the Chesapeake with the person I was caring for. I would come home & tell Rube about Dr. Kenney & his teachings. He was a friend from many years ago in the Lion's club & such a servant of the Lord. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family @ this time.
Rube & Judith Brett
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
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 sseing the reward for his labor, for he bore fruit in me.
LaMonte Williams
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
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.
Tracy &Christopher Heath
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
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.
Ronnie & Sally (Park) Smith
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
March 14, 2013
Bob & 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 & Dorothy Barkley Bryson
Dorothy & Bob Bryson
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.
Brenda Poole
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, VA
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.
Jennifer Snipes
March 14, 2013
Fruman 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.
Susan Pierce-Grantham
March 14, 2013
Your presence will be greatly missed, Dr. Kenney. You will remain in our hearts forever.
Angie Smith
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