Eulogy and Homily from Kevin’s Funeral Mass

Several of you have requested that we share the text of the eulogy and homily from Kevin’s funeral mass service on February 25, 2023. In addition, the mass was recorded and can be streamed here. The service begins at 41:00 into the recorded livestream.

Homily – Fr. Kevin Nadolski, OSFS

By way of introduction, my name is Kevin Nadolski, OSFS, and I am a priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales living and working at DeSales University, outside of Allentown, PA. But perhaps more importantly today, I am—like us all—a friend of Kevin Neary. We became friends in 1997, when Kevin was a sophomore at Salesianum School, and I was a newly ordained priest assigned to work there. Thankfully, we have been friends ever since, for more than 25 years.

On behalf of Fr. McDermott and this St. John Fisher Parish community, as well as the Salesianum School community who loved Kevin and Kevin loved so much, I extend to you Joe, JP, and Christopher, and your wives, Olivia and Lindsey, and your boys, our heartfelt condolences and assurance of prayers. Your love for Kevin, evident in your heroically selfless care—especially you, Joe—is an example and inspiration of what love really means. We are sad with you, and we are grateful for you.

More than 40 years ago Marian and Joe Neary brought their recently born second son, Kevin Francis to be baptized in the church. Through church, and later at Salesianum, and most especially in your home, Joe, Kevin learned our great faith. He learned how to live Jesus, how to care and forgive, and how to be a man of justice and gentleness, of humility and humor. In those few minutes more than four decades ago and the years since, when you, Joe, and your beloved Marian, baptized Kevin you imprinted him for all eternity with the life of Jesus. Into Jesus’ life, into his suffering, and into his death, and most especially into his resurrection: Kevin Neary lives forever!

It’s true that Kevin wasn’t the most outwardly religious person. From his days at Salesianum jabbing me about my sports teams to his final days predicting the future of now-former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s career, Kevin preferred less spiritual topics for our conversations. Yet, his robust spirit always seemed sustained by an amazing grace that could be traced to his love for his family, especially his Mom and Dad and his brothers and their families. His spirit was also evident in his earthy sense of right from wrong; his strong confidence that as a adolescent led him to start college at the University of Miami—I think just because he liked their football team, of course. And, he possessed a deep courage that would let him to risk to love—and, when it mattered most, a courage to risk to live, even when he didn’t want to. Here, Kevin lived Jesus most profoundly. Like Jesus, into whose cross he was baptized, and through whose resurrection he now lives forever, Kevin did not seek be anyone other than who he was. As he would often quote Francis de Sales to me: “Be who you are and be that well.” Kevin did just that: With color and verve, with his hooped earrings and slightly open-mouthed smile, with his undying hankering for a glass of good red wine or a generous taste of gin, Kevin was just who he was, and he was that really, really well.

The closing words of that statement by Francis de Sales that Kevin liked to quote so much are instructive for us today. They also tell us a tremendous deal about Kevin himself. “Be who you are and be that well,” DeSales says. But he goes on: “to give honor and glory to the Master Craftsman whose handiwork you are.”

Kevin, and each one of us, are the handiwork of our loving God. And, Kevin was also a piece of work. He probably gambled too much, could have gone to church a little more, and watched a little less sports. But, somehow all of this added to his charm. And, charm he had in buckets!

Among the indignities and injustices that emerged from the evil and violence that left Kevin so disabled is one that we could be tempted to consider today: That Kevin’s being a victim of gun violence color how we remember and celebrate him. We cannot do this. Let’s resolve not to, for Kevin’s life was so much more than being a victim. He was an uncle in love with his nephews, even when pinched by moments of sadness as he realized that he would never have children of his own. He was a loving son who never forgot the beauty and impact his late mother had on his life. He was an ongoing student of history and politics who would talk well about everything right and wrong with our world and society. And, of course, he knew more about sports than Joe Buck, Tony Romo, Stephen Smith, Howard, Eskin, and Angelo Cataldi combined! What’s more, he was passionate about his friendships and relationships. At his recent 40th surprise birthday party, he exclaimed, “Almost everyone is from out of town.” To which a few of us responded, “Well, we love you, Kevin.” And, with a nod and a whisper and that open-mouthed smile, he said, “And, I love you, too.”

Kevin’s most visible cross carried over the last 12 years cannot be the final word on his life. Just like the cross was not the final word on the life of Jesus, his God. Jesus’ resurrection overcame the power of his suffering and death. As the second reading told us: “The word of God is not chained.” And, Kevin taught us this in his choosing life over the pain of huge grief after his Mom’s premature death or his deliberately choosing joy after his romances would end or his hope after his future plans were dashed. Kevin was a man of gentleness and joy and hope whose life showed us way more resurrection that it ever did the cross, despite his ability to carry whichever cross came his way. It is the resurrection that defines Kevin’s life and our lives, too. And, his life, in the words of the gospel, “carried the news of the resurrection.” Our God pulls us up into the fullness of life, just like God lifted Kevin out of his broken body on Monday to a new and eternal life with his mother and our Father who art in heaven. Kevin can now run like those women in the Gospel. He can lift his own arms to embrace his mother, Marian. And, he can feed himself at the Eternal Banquet in heaven. Today, Jesus words, “Do not be afraid,” have new meaning for all of us.

I think his smile and those eyes that looked like he was reading poetry to us exuded an optimism that might have been at the root of all those bad bets he made and those casino trips he loved with his bestie Leon. The most poignant experience of optimism I may have ever experienced was just days after Kevin was shot. Joe and Kevin’s brothers went into the ICU room to discuss what the doctors had reported about the severe physical limitations of the rest of Kevin’s life. I happened to enter his room right after they left. It was clear that Kevin was crying, his head to the side of the wet pillow, and tears still streaming. Kevin said softly, “I hope some good comes from this.”

When Jesus was on his cross, he said few words, too. And, like Kevin, Jesus’ words were of hope and goodness and forgiveness and humanity and prayer. And, when Jesus was on his cross, he had his mother right there with him, suffering and praying and dying alongside him.

Joe, we would be remiss if we didn’t turn to you to acclaim the care, sacrifice, frustration, anger, sadness, and solid love you have carried as Kevin’s caretaker over the past 12 years. You would frequently remark how Marian would have done it better. Well, Joe, your labor pains of the past 11 years that you have spent giving Kevin birth into his new life in heaven were real. And, your ability to endure them, with grace and prayer, humor and perspective, and remain faithful and faith-filled is a testament to your marriage with Marian and the three sons you raised together. You showed us and Kevin the face of Jesus like we have never seen before. The love you gave him prepared him so well for the fullness of love he now experiences.

And, so we give thanks for life of Kevin Francis Neary. A man whose optimism and goodness, whose joy and gentleness unfold into the majesty and mystery of a Christian returning home, free of pain and frustration, fully independent and fully the man he was called to be and be that well. And, most importantly, he has risen above the cross of this life into the resurrection that brings him to live, forever and ever. AMEN.

Eulogy – Chris Neary

Good morning, everyone. On behalf of the entire Neary family, thank you so much for being here to grieve with us, to remember with us, and most importantly, to celebrate the life of our brother, our son, our friend, Kevin Neary.

We also want to invite you to join us at Ogden Fire Company after the burial to share memories about Kevin over food and drink.

Before we begin the mass, I wanted to share a few words about Kevin.

Of course, a few minutes of reflection can’t come anywhere close to capturing Kevin. His one-of-a-kind personality. His outsize presence in a room. His knack for cracking an inappropriate joke at just the right time. His sense of style. His swagger. His mischievous nature. His effortless charm. His intelligence. His drive and determination. His relentlessly positive attitude. Or, above all, his genuine and unwavering concern for others.

Being Kevin’s brother, I’ve heard countless stories about Kevin and what he means to each and every one of you. And I’ve seen the unfailingly positive impact he had on the lives of everyone in this room and so many more who can’t be with us today. 

I can’t capture all of that here. But I was fortunate to know Kevin my entire life, and I can say a few words about what Kevin meant to me as my brother and one of my best friends.

I’ve always felt lucky to have two big brothers. From the time I was born, JP and Kevin were there to guide me.

Kevin was just two years older than me, so we spent a lot of time together. Playing pickup basketball, football, and whiffleball in the neighborhood. Wreaking havoc and throwing the ball around the house (sorry, Dad). Watching buddy comedies like Tommy Boy over and over again, or – Kevin’s favorite – a really good romcom.

Growing up, I was a nerdy kid with thick glasses and thin skin. Without Kevin, I would have been lost. He made sure I was included, and he protected me from the bullies. And that extended to our time at Sallies when I started at a new school without any friends, all of a sudden adjusting from public school to a rigorous all-boys Catholic high school. Kevin took care to show me the ropes and look out for me, even if it didn’t make him any cooler.

You could chalk that up to Kevin just being a good big brother. But I think it speaks to who Kevin was – that his life was about more than just his own dreams, his goals, his ambitions. Just as important, it was about taking care of those he loved.

If you know Kevin, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Kevin picking up the check at dinner when you’re not looking, and then tipping 200 percent because he knew what it was like being a server. Or showing up for your kid’s game when you least expected it. Or getting a phone call from him when you needed it most, even though you didn’t know that’s what you needed.

Kevin loved taking care of his people. And it gave him so much joy and energy.

Kevin was known for being the life of the party and lighting up any room he walked into. (I know that if Kevin could right now, this is where he’d stop me,  crack a big grin and say, “Christopher, I think you meant say, “rolled into.”)

But while Kevin would light up a room, it’s also true that you lit him up. No matter how hard things got, his day would turn around when someone came to visit. Being with you put Kevin in his element.

Now, Kevin would often say that he did not want to be defined by his injury. It’s no surprise that, like most goals Kevin set in life, he was wildly successful on this front. His circumstances did not define him. His love for all of you is what defined him. The joy that he brought into our lives defined him. His remarkable resilience defined him. His positivity and hope for the future defined him.

That’s not to say that becoming quadriplegic didn’t change him. Kevin was always fiercely independent. He never wanted anyone’s help and took great pride in what he was able to accomplish on his own. 

But with Kevin’s injury, there was a new reality. There were new limitations and new challenges. And he had to learn to accept the help he needed. As a result of that openness and that growth, Kevin formed great bonds and friendships with those who helped with his care. So many of these nurses, doctors, and aides have told me, with no hesitation, that he was their favorite.

It’s no wonder. When I was growing up, I always marveled at Kevin’s effortless ability to form quick connections with people. It was uncanny. I’d often wonder what his secret was. Was it his sense of humor? His charm? His intelligence and his ability to talk about almost any topic?

It was only as I grew up that I realized that, yes, all of these things played a role. But, the root of it was very simple: Kevin genuinely cared about you. He really wanted to know what was going on in your life. And people could tell right away: Kevin Neary was a good man.

We are all deeply sad that that good man is now gone. For me, it is hard to fathom losing such a massive presence in my life. Right now, I am missing the little things. I wish we could talk about the Phillies’ roster moves, spring training, and if they’ll get another shot at the World Series. I wish we could rehash the Super Bowl. I wish we could set up a killer parlay. I wish we could talk about what his little guy Logan and his nephews were up to.

I won’t ever get those little things back. But my hope – and my goal – is for Kevin’s spirit to stay with me. And that I will let him inspire me to make someone else’s day better, even on my worst days.

Kevin always told me he didn’t understand why people said he’s an inspiration. “I’m just a guy who happens to be quadriplegic,” he would say. But Kevin was an inspiration to me, long before his injury. He was my protector. He was my friend. He was always there for me, and everyone in this room.

And he will always be there for us. Because he showed us how to draw strength from others in our hardest moments. How to have a lot of fun, no matter what life throws at you. And how a life of selflessness leads to great joy, for both us and the people we meet along the way.

Kevin, I love you. I am glad that you are no longer in pain. I am glad that you are back with mom. And I am grateful for the example you set – for me and for everyone whose lives you touched. 

Kevin Francis Neary (1982-2023)

We are deeply saddened to share that Kevin passed away this morning. Two weeks ago, Kevin fell ill with his third case of pneumonia within the last year. Unfortunately, despite excellent care at Riddle Hospital, his body did not respond to treatment. Kevin passed comfortably and without pain.

We know that you all share our heartbreak at this news. Beyond being a wonderful son and brother, Kevin has been a vibrant, caring, selfless, and positive presence in all of our lives. Words cannot express the loss that we will all experience. We cannot begin to encapsulate that here. We plan to hold a viewing on Friday evening and a funeral service on Saturday. Details are below.

We want to reiterate how much everyone’s support has meant to Kevin and our family. Dealing with tragedy is never easy, but the love and community that has been maintained over the years to support Kevin has been nothing short of remarkable and a testament to the power of community. While this is a difficult time, please know that we are grateful to everyone for your support. In the coming days, we ask for grace as we grieve.

In lieu of flowers, we request that donations be made to Salesianum School in Kevin’s honor. A scholarship fund will be established by the family in the near future.

Joe, Joseph, and Chris

Friday, February 24th

Viewing: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

White-Luttrell Funeral Home

311 N. Swarthmore Avenue

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania 19078

Saturday, February 25th

Viewing: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Funeral Mass: 11:00 a.m.

St. John Fisher Church

4225 Chichester Avenue

Boothwyn, PA 19061

NOTE: Saturday’s viewing will take place at St. John Fisher Church.

National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Gun violence is a polarizing issue, and this post is in no way trying to incite a political discourse. The goal is to highlight the human element in what has become a brutal reality in the United States. One of our country’s most recent incidents involved a most treasured group – the youth of our country. It seems appropriate to mention that today is June 3rd, National Gun Violence Awareness Day.

I happen to know many responsible gun owners. I do not intend to anger you with this post. In my conversations with many, I would say a majority acknowledge that there is a common ground that something can be done to reduce the number of incidents of gun violence at the hands of irresponsible individuals.

Accordingly, here is an initiative that may be worthwhile to consider: 

A potential bright light is a resolution that protects responsible gun owners and curbs the havoc gun violence creates in our society. Help if you can, support if you can, do something if you can.


Wild Expectations Exceeded

As we concluded our GoFundMe campaign, my family and I are simply amazed at the generosity and support of so many. To the 222 donors, 288 followers, and 427 shares that generated $36,325, I can simply say thank you for everything.

Many of the names on the donor list are quite familiar to us – and words fail to express our gratitude for your steadfast support.

Teachers, neighbors, colleagues, family, friends….thank you one and all.

So many donated anonymously, and we so wish we could reach out to thank everyone who donated. If you donated anonymously, please know how grateful we are!

It’s not lost on our family that we have been always buoyed by community support, and that others in similar situations don’t get that same kind of support. From the days immediately after my injury until now, just under 10 years ago, so many have championed my cause in various ways. Please continue to do so!

Your help means the world to all of us.

Thank you!


Goal met – thanks to your help!

We are excited to announce that, just a week after launching our first GoFundMe campaign, we’ve hit our goal of raising $30,000 to pay for one year of Kevin’s care not covered by insurance. We are immensely grateful and overwhelmed by the response.

We wish that words could adequately thank all of you for the support you have shown Kevin this past week and through the last ten years. We hope to be able to see all of you soon.

To see the fundraising campaign and a list of donors, click here:

Announcing our GoFundMe campaign

Over the years, Kevin and our family have cherished seeing everyone at the great fundraising events held by Kevin’s supporters. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, we have not been able to see each other at these events, which is something we truly miss. We hope to be able to see everyone when it is safer to hold large events again.

Of course, while the events have stopped, the costs for Kevin’s care have not. We are launching a GoFundMe campaign with an ambitious goal — paying for a year of Kevin’s care not covered by insurance, which typically costs more than $30,000.

We also hope to shine a light on the importance of caregivers to individuals living with disabilities. As a quadriplegic, Kevin relies on nurses and aides to take care of basic needs, like getting in and out of bed, bathing and dressing, and helping meet his medical needs.

By contributing, you can play a huge part – not only for Kevin, but also for Kevin’s dad, Joe, and the rest of the Neary family. Joe is Kevin’s primary caregiver. While Joe has a lot of energy, every caregiver needs support and rest.

Contributions also help cover Kevin’s non-medical costs that help him live more independently, including transportation, supplies, and other needs.

Please help us spread the word by sharing with your friends, family, and others who you think might want to support Kevin.

Click here to contribute.

Note: Funds raised are NOT tax-deductible. Funds will go to Kevin’s Special Needs Trust.

Late summer update from Kevin

Happy summer to all and I hope this message finds everyone in good spirits.

One of my goals starting this summer is to update the website more often detailing some of what has been going on in my world. Hopefully it will provide some insight into my life that will prove valuable for those who are interested in knowing how things are with me. Also, I encourage everyone to comment and reach out with your feedback.

Many of you have asked about whether or not we have any upcoming events. We are targeting an event in the early spring. Please stay tuned for details and if anyone has any recommendations, please feel free to send me a note. I can always be reached by email at

Related to visitors, I am still open to receiving company. I am grateful to all that feel comfortable enough to spend some of their time with me and I also understand if there are concerns about the current situation of healthcare in our modern society.

In closing, thank you all for showing an interest in my health and well-being. I am incredibly blessed to have so many people that care. It is certainly appreciated and something which I am fortunate to have. Best wishes to all and I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.

Update from Kevin!

To my friends and family,

First of all, thank you so much for your support during the last year and a half as we all faced challenges staying in touch and remaining healthy combating COVID. My heart goes out to everyone who lost a close one or struggled fighting the virus themselves.

Many of you have asked about my health considering my at risk status as someone with a compromised respiratory system. Fortunately, I am able to say that I remain healthy. I thank my caregivers for masking procedures and social distancing when necessary for helping reduce my risk of infection. I have also received the vaccine without experiencing any complications or side effects. As with any of you, I was forced to curtail many of the activities that I had become accustomed to doing. However, now that things have started to open up, and more opportunities present themselves to do more activities, I realize that we are not completely out of the woods from fighting the pandemic.

Although it has been a challenging year, it has also been eventful. My brother Chris and his wife Lindsey welcomed my nephew, Logan, into the world in January. I have been able to meet him and see my nephews Joseph and William, as well as my brother JP and my sister-in-law Olivia. It has been a pleasure to see these three Neary boys grow. We have been able to stay in touch thanks to video chat.

So far this summer, I have had the opportunity to attend some Phillies games and enjoy dining at local restaurants. I welcome the chance to do more of these and other outings while the warm weather is here. Whether it be a local park or the deck at my house, maybe we can grab a sandwich and meet outdoors or utilize the grill here at the house.

I am hoping to see as many of you as I can over these coming months. Feel free to give me a call or shoot me a text message to set up a time to hang out.


Thanks for a great FOKN axe outing!

Thank you everyone who participated in yesterday’s Let’s Throw Some FOKN Hatchets! Hopefully not too many of you are sore today. We had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones too. From the Neary Family and Friends reunion in the lower arenas, Chopper’s Hatchet House regulars who signed up, and the mini-commercial office party in the upper arenas, it was a lot of fun. Hearing the random loud cheers coming from nine arenas was really great.
We are extremely grateful for all the work that Dan Dvorak did to organize the event. We hope that his daughter, Jenna, had a great birthday!
As we highlighted yesterday, we wanted to send a special thank you to Leon Ariyan, Kevin’s former employer from some 14 years ago who paid the  $2,000 event balance. A thank you as well to our event sponsors:
FOKN Kick Axe Sponsors
  • Valcourt Building Services & John Schiavello
  • The Dvorak Family
  • Joe Neary
Lane Sponsors
  • James Brackenrig
  • The Schwalb Family who sponsored 4 Lanes
And of course thank you to all of you who registered, participated, and made a Chance Basket or general donation. We had 108 attendees, 18 teams, 92 players and collectively, who combined to raise $9,500.00 for Kevin’s ongoing care. 8m1gWdyMRliigpq9O48i1Q


A message from Kevin on next Saturday’s event!

Hello to all and happy new year!

Most of you are aware of our upcoming event, axe throwing, scheduled for this upcoming Saturday, January 11. There is good news – there are still team and individual openings in the event you are looking to participate! A special thank you goes to Daniel Dvorak for all he has done to organize, promote, and execute the event.

As mentioned, there is still an opportunity for you to participate in multiple ways. You can sign up, sponsor, or feel free to donate a door prize. For those of you who utilize social media, please consider sharing the event with your friends and family.

Also, for those who have already registered, this is a reminder that you need to sign the waiver in order to participate. Please let me know if you need additional information.

Thanks again for your interest in our upcoming event and the various ways you continue to assist me. Everything is greatly appreciated.

Please note that you need to be registered to participate in the event.