The Reverend Richard Reno Neff died on March 17, 2012. He was 74 years old.
Rev. Neff was born in Bronx, NY, on June 11, 1937,
to Mary Himoff and Earl Reno, and lived there until he was nine. His
mother later married Walter S. Neff, who adopted him. He attended the
University of Chicago for two and a half years and went on to earn his
Master of Library Science from Rutgers University. He received his Bachelor of Divinity from Starr King School for the Ministry on June 28th, 1970.
Rev. Neff was ordained by
the Universalist Unitarian Church of Farmington Hills, MI on April 4,
1971 where he also served from 1971-1975. He was called to the Hollis
Unitarian Church in Hollis, NY from 1976-1979 and the Unitarian
Universalist Church of Joliet, IL from 1980-1986. In 1986, he answered a
call to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County in
Orange, NJ where he stayed until his retirement from the ministry in
In addition to serving
the UU ministry, Rev. Neff managed libraries in Livingston, Butler and
Linden, NJ. He loved working as a reference librarian but health issues
forced him to retire in 2002.
Even in his final days,
Rev. Neff enjoyed sharing his life journey in his e-newsletter "Rick’s
Journal.” He will be remembered for his talents writing and performing
folk music, as well as for his commitment to the civil rights movement.
He joined Martin Luther King, Jr. in the historic Selma to Montgomery
march in 1966.
Rev. Neff is survived by his sons, Jeremy and Joshua Neff; his brother Alan Neff; and three grandchildren. There was a memorial service on April 14, 2012. Notes of condolence may be sent to www.overlandparkchapel.com.