James L. Kidd

James L. Kidd

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James Lambert Kidd died on May 19, 2012 after a short illness.

He was born June 12, 1933, in Fall River to older parents, Rev. Thomas and Elizabeth Ann Kidd, 20 years after their oldest and 12 years after their next youngest He was spoiled by his four siblings and two parents.

Jim was a mediocre student, just getting by until he had a major life crisis at 19, when he experienced the love of Jesus. He became a good student.

He started dating Joann Hamilton at 17 and married her, the love of his life, at 20. He was on the Dean’s list at the University of Massachusetts, graduating in 1955. He received the top Junior Academic Scholarship as he entered Andover Newton Theological School, graduating in 1959.

Jim loved his three children and was crushed when he discovered his two boys had cystic fibrosis and would not survive to adulthood. Bruce passed away in 1968 at 13, and Peter in 1979, at 19. His daughter, Pamela, who came through her teen crises a hero in his eyes, is married to Kevin Pleas, a UCC Minister in Camden, Maine.

Jim served in four churches: The First Congregational Church of Pelham, N.H. (1957-1961); Wellington Avenue Congregational Church in Chicago, Ill. (1961-1969); First Congregational Church in Wilmette, Ill. (1969-1979) and Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Conn. (1979-1998). All of his churches grew in membership and in a deepening faith and spirit.

Jim received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 1969 and many church growth awards over the years. Upon retirement, he relocated to Punta Gorda, Fla., where he pursued his leisure loves, being with friends over a meal and on the tennis court, reading and boating, or summering on Martha’s Vineyard in the cottage he built himself. He was vice president of Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs.

Jim was president of the Hartford Clergy Association, served on the Hartford Vision Project, worked to stop professional gambling in Hartford, was voted Citizen of the Year in 1999, was given the Humanitarian Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews. He was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement in the 60s and 70s.

He was on the Board of Directors of Chicago Theological Seminary, the Chicago Community Renewal Society, Andover Newton Theological School, and Hartford Hospital. He was president of the board of the Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation in Chicago and Merrimack Valley, N.H. Jim was a gifted preacher and writer and many of his sermons and articles on church growth have been published. He was Minister Emeritus at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.

Jim is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joann, his daughter, Pam (Kevin) Pleas; his grandchildren, Sarah (Sean Gresh) Pleas, and James Pleas; his brother, David Kidd; many nieces and nephews and a host of people whom he loved.

There will be a memorial service at the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury on August 7 at 1 pm. To honor Jim’s wishes, memorial contributions may be made to the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, P.O. Box 3000, West Tisbury, MA 02575.

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