Neal W. Kidney, Jr.
Sep 24th, 2021
Neal W. Kidney, Jr. 75 of South Yarmouth passed into the heavenly realm on Friday September 24, 2021, surrounded by his loving family. Neal’s life mirrored a walk of faith, forgiveness, generosity, goodness, and compassion.
As a young boy, he loved reading books about the heroes of the early days of our country. His bookcase today still boasts of the likes of Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, and Paul Bunyan. As a teenager, he would bow hunt for rabbits in the meadows of Lexington with like-minded friends.
When Neal graduated from Lexington High School, a guidance counsellor told him that he was headed nowhere in life and would amount to nothing. His strong inner fortitude strived to prove this educator wrong. He worked at Hazeltine’s Gas Station in Arlington Heights and found he loved learning about the inner working of defective cars and trucks. He competed in many of these mended vehicles in demolition derbies.
Neal served in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne serving the country he loved.
After his honorable discharge in 1967, he wanted to go back to school and earn a degree. He loved working with his hands and went to Wentworth Institute and became knowledgeable in the many fields of construction. As a carpenter his construction skills blossomed and he went on to build many homes in the New England area.
Neal’s true love, his wife, Cheryl whom he loved to the greatest extent over a half of a century as a team, loving all they encountered. This love had no bounds. He devoted countless hours to care and love his kids, watching them play, and watch them grow into adults.
As the years continued, he learned to love building churches and he built numerous churches in New England. His most challenging church project was resurrecting a historical church founded by the descendants of the Mayflower pilgrims. It had nearly burned to the ground. When Neal and his motley crew completed the project, the church was restored to its original glory.
Neal loved the ocean. His first boat was an old Maine lobster boat. It was named “The Wreck”…and true to its name…it was hauled from the floor of Bass River several times. As the years went by, he graduated to his last boat, and due to his love for the sea and his country, it was named, “Dawn’s Early Light”. Many happy hours were spent on this boat, whether moored in Sippican Harbor having Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee or cruising Buzzard’s Bay with his family.
Neal loved the sea, but he also loved the mountains. His love for the mountains brought him to Vermont where he built a beautiful church and became associated with Freedom Ministries, a Christian Counseling center. Remembering his own childhood, Neal had a heart for at-risk boys who had a hard time fitting into their own life’s circumstances. It had always been a dream that he would start a home and school for these kids. The home was called Fields of Harvest and over the years was a respite for over 90 young men. Through the years, many young men have stayed in touch…becoming U.S. Marines, U.S. Naval officers, teachers, youth workers, successful businessmen, and most importantly, loving dads themselves.
Many years ago, while helping build a friend’s cabin in the woods of Maine, Neal attended a church service in Wiscasset. While in this service, he heard a young woman sing a hymn and knew that God had to be central in his life. Knowing what God had accomplished in Neal’s life over the years, he knew he had to share it. He went on to pastor in Churches of the Nazarene…all of which he took part in the construction of the buildings themselves: Fitchburg; Sanborn, NY; Falmouth; Johnson, VT; and finally, the Dennis Church of the Nazarene…the church that sent him off to Nazarene Bible college forty-seven years ago. Neal’s love for family, friends and country was only outshined by his love for the Lord. This is his most powerful legacy to everyone he touched.
Recently, Neal began restoring a 1964 Chevy Pick-up truck. Life has a way of returning us back to our beginnings: motors, truck parts, oily rags and the joy of taking something broken and returning it to its original glory. Now his family will finish the project he began, a wonderful analogy.
Neal is survived by his beloved wife, Cheryl Anne (Thomas) Kidney; three sons, Christopher and his wife, Christy of Lakeville, Micah and his wife, Heather of New Bedford, and Joshua of Middleboro,; a daughter, Hildur Thompson and her husband, Gary of West Yarmouth; two brothers, Michael of Lunenburg, and Mark of North Carolina; two step-brothers, Buddy Yeomans of Connecticut, and Michael Yeomans of Harwich; two step-sisters, Cecelia Flynn of Florida, and Mary Jane Yeomans of Harwich; nine grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. Neal was predeceased by his parents, June (Heffernan) and Neal W. Kidney, Sr, a sister, Susan, his step-father, Frank Yeomans, and two step-sons, Peter and Kenny Yeomans.
A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday October 2 in the Church of the Nazarene, 209 Upper County Rd., South Dennis.
Interment will be held at 10:45 a.m. Monday October 4 at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne. The procession will form at 9:30 a.m. at the Hallett Funeral Home, 273 Station Ave., South Yarmouth.
Visitation will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday October 1 at the Church of the Nazarene.
As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516.