Former longtime principal of North Reading High School Arthur Kenney died last week at the age of 97.
Kenney led a generation of North Reading High School students until his retirement in 1981. His legacy is remembered at NRHS with Arthur Kenney Field.
North Reading knew Mr. Kenney as the North Reading High principal, but baseball fans and historians remember him for pitching for the Boston Bees. Kenney was the third oldest living Major League Baseball player at the time of his death.
Kenney pitched in two games for the old Boston Bees in 1938. That team was managed by baseball great Casey Stengel.
According to Baseball Reference, Kenney, who was born in Milford, signed with the Bees in 1938 shortly after his graduation from the College of the Holy Cross. He went 16-4 for Holy Cross and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2011.
Both the Red Sox and Bees were interested in Kenney, especially after he fanned baseball great Jimmie Foxx during an exhibition game in 1937.
After pitching two games for the Bees in 1938, he was sent to the minors and soon left baseball because of arm troubles.
Kenney was teaching English when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He joined the Army Air Force three weeks later and served his country throughout World War II.
He returned to the US and earned a degree from the University of New Hampshire. Kenney ultimately came to North Reading and served many years as North Reading High School principal before retiring in 1981.
"I was more interested in helping kids than disciplining them. I attended all their games and plays. If a kid was in trouble I was there to help and get him or her back on track,'' Kenney told the Holy Cross Magazine.
The memorial service for Arthur Kenney will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 26 in the St. Rose of Lima in Littleton, NH. Donations in his memory may be made to: Weathervane Theatre Box 127 Whitefield NH 03598.
What do you remember about Arthur Kenney? What did you learn from him? Let us know in the comments section below.