Kenneth Abbott Viall SSJE, 1893-1974

bookscancenter_17The Right Reverend Kenneth Abbott Viall, SSJE, Retired Assistant Bishop of Tokyo, died in Japan on January 3, 1974. At the time of his death, the Bishop was Provincial Superior of the Japanese Province of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Kenneth Abbot Viall was born December 19, 1893, first child and only son of Frederick Clarence Viall and Edith Laura (Robbins) Viall. Following graduation from Lynn public schools and Lynn Classical High School in 1911, he entered Harvard College where he received his A.B. in 1915. He next entered General Theological Seminary in New York and received his B.D. in 1919. Feeling the need for still more education, he received his M.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1920 and his E.dM. in 1921. He received an honorary S.T.D. from General Seminary, New York, in May 1949.

During the years when he was obtaining his education, he taught at Donaldson School, Ilchester, Maryland, in 1918-1919, served as Curate at Mt. Calvary Church, Baltimore, from 1913-1919, and entered the Society of St. John the Evangelist in July 1919. He was ordained Deacon on 21 April 1918 in St. Stephen’s Lynn, Massachusetts and ordained Priest on 7 January 1919 in St. John’s, Boston.

He was professed in the Society on his birthdate (19 December) 1923 and assigned to the House of the Society in Korea. He was soon reassigned, however, to the house in San Francisco, in January 1924. During his stay in California, he served in the Church of the Advent, San Francisco from 1924-1935 and as Chaplain to Episcopalians at San Quentin Prison from 1924-1934.

Assigned to the house of the Society in Japan in 1934, he arrived there on 28 January 1935 and became Provincial Superior of the Japanese Province in October 1938. His stay in Japan was interrupted in May 1940, when he returned to the United States on furlough. He was at the Mother House from 1940-1947 as Novice Master and Assistant Superior. During August-October 1948, he made a visitation to the Japanese Province and was appointed representative of the National Council of the Episcopal Church to Nippon Seikokai in January 1947, arriving in Japan again in May 1947.

In January 1949, he resigned as representative to the National Council to become Warden of the Central Theological College of Nippon Seikokai. He was consecrated Assistant Bishop of Tokyo on 25 April, 1949, retiring upon the consecration of Bishop Goto on 6 November 1959.

Since 1959, Bishop Viall ministered to the spiritual needs of Americans in the Grant Heights, Tachikawa and Misawa areas of Japan. He is survived by his sisters Ruth Haslett and Doris Viall and neice Jacqueline Haslett of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Interment will be at St. Michael’s Monastery, Oyama, Tochigi Ken, Japan.

—From Cowley, January, 1974, pp. 55-56.

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