SCARBOROUGH — Kenneth McKinnon Read Jr., 89, of Ocean Park, died on Saturday, May 7, at Gosnell Memorial Hospice House.
The son of Kenneth McKinnon Read Sr. and Edna Dorrance Read, he was born in Newark, N.J., June 24, 1921. He grew up in Berkeley Heights Park in Bloomfield, N.J., graduating from Bloomfield High School in 1939, and then Princeton University with a major in chemistry in January 1943.
That winter, he enlisted in the Naval Reserve, ending his service in World War II in the South Pacific in air operations. He returned home and worked briefly for a cosmetics firm in New York City. His search for a more spirit-led career led him back to Princeton Seminary from 1947 to 1950. He held associate pastorships in Washington, D.C., and Bloomfield, N.J., before being called to begin a church (Limestone Presbyterian) in Wilmington, Del. There, he and his new wife, Edith Frey Read, began a life together and had two sons, Bruce McCullough Read and Kirk Dorrance Read.
Ken and Edith met during his time in the church in Bloomfield, where she was the contralto in a professional quartet. Edith’s gorgeous voice and inspiring vocal ministry were a source of great joy and pride for Ken throughout their 40-year marriage. Edith died in November 1995. For most of his pastoral career, Ken served in the Dryden Presbyterian Church in Dryden, N.Y., retiring in 1983, and then settling in Ocean Park, where he then served for several years at First Parish Church in Saco as minister of visitation.
Ken was a quiet, friendly and compassionate soul throughout his entire life. Ken’s vocational gift was in abiding with his parishioners throughout the seasons of their lives. He welcomed newborns into the church through countless baptisms; he married scores of friends, family and community members; and he comforted generations of bereaved families whose loved ones passed on. Many church members and friends welcomed the sight of Ken’s bright red sedan pulling into their driveway for a call on both joyous and troubled occasions.
Ken was a friend to all and his unconditional positive regard for all those he encountered was exemplary. His quick wit lightened many a heart and softened potentially difficult encounters. Ken was principled, brave and gracious. He expressed great disdain for bigotry and intolerance, challenging his own denomination on what he felt were unjust and unloving policies on sexual orientation: he testified publicly several times to this injustice at some personal and professional risk and became a tremendous role model for many in his faith communities. Ken gave of his modest financial resources to many individuals and institutions in need and quietly questioned extravagance and profligacy in the face of poverty and financial inequities both in his community and in the world at large.
Ken is survived and remembered dearly by his sons, Bruce (Arundel) and Kirk (Auburn) and spouse, Camille Parrish; four granddaughters, Hannah (New York, N.Y.), Alice (Biddeford), Helen and Anne (Arundel) and their mother, Laura Butterworth (Kennebunk); and his twin nieces, Betty Eaton (Nashville, Tenn.) and Jean Reese (Franklin, Tenn.)