The Rev. Dr. William Beaven (Bill) Abernethy died on January 4, 2010 after a long illness. A funeral service will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, January 9 at the Brooksby Village Chapel (MacIntosh Clubhouse at 300 Brooksby Village Drive, Peabody.) Calling hours are 5:00 - 8:00 pm on Friday January 8th at the Peterson-O’Donnell funeral Home (167 Maple Street, Danvers.)
The following is from Rev. Martin Copenhaver in a letter to his congregation:
The Rev. Dr. William Beavan Abernethy, beloved former Minister of Village Church, who served this congregation from 1976-1993, died in his sleep early Monday morning. I know you join me in sorrow at his passing, but also in deep and abiding gratitude for his extraordinary life and ministry. I invite you to remember Ann Abernethy, their children, extended family, and countless friends, in your prayers.
I, and Bill’s family, particularly want to invite you to attend our 10:00 worship service this Sunday, where we will celebrate Bill’s ministry at Village Church in word, prayer, and song. Also, in a most fitting “coincidence,” this is the service in which we will present the Abernethy Award, named after Bill, to the Metrowest Interfaith Hospitality Network. The Abernethy family will be in attendance, and you will have an opportunity to greet them at a special fellowship hour in Village Common following worship.
You are also invited to attend a graveside service at 2:00 on Sunday at Woodlawn Cemetery in Wellesley.
In these days, let us hold fast to the gospel promises that Bill Abernethy proclaimed so powerfully in his life and ministry.
The following obituary is from the Salem News:
BEVERLY — The Reverend Dr. William Beaven Abernethy, 70, of Beverly, beloved husband of the Rev. Ann Cornell (Greenawalt) Abernethy, Pastor of Protestant Ministries at Brooksby Village, died peacefully after living with Parkinson's Disease for 27 years.
Born in Missouri, he was the son of the late Bradford Sherman and Mary Jean (Beaven) Abernethy. He was raised and educated in New Brunswick, N.J. Bill enrolled at The Hill School in Pennsylvania and was a member of the Class of 1957. He continued his education at Harvard University, graduating in 1961. He then matriculated at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and later earned his Doctor of Ministry from Andover Newton Theological School.
Rev. Abernethy began his ministry (one that would last for over 30 years) as Pastor of the North Bennington Congregational Church, North Bennington, Vt., in the Fall of 1961. He progressed on to become the Pastor of the South Congregational Church of Middletown, Conn., from 1971 to 1976, and most recently, he was the Senior Minister of the Wellesley Congregational Church in Wellesley, from 1976 until his early retirement in 1993 due to Parkinson's Disease.
Bill's ministry lived on during his retirement years, as a mentor to young clergy throughout Massachusetts. He found great joy in being able to guide the young minds of the pulpit. Bill also published two books, "A New Look for Sunday Morning" and "Scripture & Imagination," and contributed to other publications. Bill's true passion was his family and the love, thoughts and guidance he shared with them will last forever. He was a great spiritual leader and he will be deeply missed.
In addition to his loving wife of 47 years, Bill is survived by his children, Mark Abernethy and his wife Kristin of South Windsor, Conn., Sarah Abernethy Oo and her husband Thein Oo of Hamilton, Jonathan Abernethy and his wife Joyce of New York, and Laura Abernethy Gronberg and her husband Fred of West Boxford; his beloved grandchildren, Micaela, Joshua and Hannah Abernethy, Christopher and Nicholas Oo, Tyler and Lena Abernethy and Matthew and Rachel Gronberg; his sister, Barbara Petersmeyer and brother David Abernethy of California; and several nieces and nephews.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral service will be held Saturday in the Chapel at Brooksby Village, Brooksby Village Drive, Peabody, at 2 p.m. Relatives and friends invited. Visiting hours in the Peterson-O'Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (Route 62) Danvers, Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. Online guestbook at www.legacy.com. Expressions of sympathy may be made in his memory to the Heifer Project International, 1 World Ave., Little Rock, AR 72202 or to Union Theological Seminary, 3041 Broadway, New York, NY 10027.