Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thomas Augustine Francis Kelly RIP

UPDATE: Thomas's remains will be removed to St Kevin's Church, Harrington St, Dublin 8 at 4.00pm tomorrow Saturday, February 23rd. A Solemn High Requiem Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will take place there on Monday next, the 25th of February at 11.00am followed by interment in the College Cemetery at Maynooth.




For those of us who knew and loved him Thomas Augustine Francis Kelly was a man whom we could never imagine with the letters RIP after his name. He had BA, MA, MPhil and the rest but the idea of this larger than life character ever being finally and irrevocably gone was simply ridiculous. Until today, when all that changed. We still don't know what happened exactly but he was found this morning at or near the Royal Canal in Maynooth. It seems that there was some sort of accident which caused him to fall in. Unfortunately falling into a canal is easily done and climbing out again is well-nigh impossible.

Thomas (I could never call him "Tom" still less "Tommy") was a man of immense intelligence and talent. He spoke four languages fluently, had a working knowledge of at least two others, and an acute reading knowledge of three others. (The latter being Ancient Greek, Latin and formal logic, since you asked.) He wrote two books and edited at least three. He founded at least three refereed academic journals and after 17 years of coaxing and cajoling seminarians in Philosophy, crossed the bridge to the National University of Ireland side of the Maynooth Campus; after some years there he finally arrived where we all knew he belonged. In the Chair of Philosophy, as Professor Thomas Kelly.



He wasn't however in any way limited to just academic achievement. He was also an accomplished painter and had exhibited in various places down the years. (It provided the cover art for his tribute to William Desmond of K U Leuven and late of Cork.) He wrote a novel once - which he never published despite my assiduous nagging encouragement. He sang with successively the Schweizer Romanos-Chor (Eastern Church music, in Switzerland no less), the Palestrina Choir and the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir.

Yet he wore all this artistic achievement lightly. He hadn't just a wide-ranging and powerful intellect but what was more important a warm and generous heart. He was well known for his capacity for making and keeping friends; he was loyal and generous to a fault. Yet a really full and complete happiness eluded him until he met his wife, Marian O'Donnell. Whatever the sadness we all feel at his death, it is as nothing to the grief she must feel. So of your charity, please pray for the peace and happy repose of the soul of Thomas Augustine Francis Kelly, and for his wife and his widowed mother that they will be comforted.

16 comments:

Kirsten said...

I was very sorry to hear about this. This is one of the few times where I feel that the somewhat clichéd description of a person that they seemed so full of life seems appropriate. I only met Thomas Kelly very, very briefly on two occasions, but that was exactly the impression I got. He really did give a clear impression of being a truly enthusiastic, warm and humorous person.


I will be praying for the happy repose of his soul, and for his wife and widowed mother, but also for yourself in your grief.

ciaran1378 said...

Poor old Professor Thomas Kelly. A man noted for his warmth and kindness as much for his intellect. I spoke with him a couple of times. I also had the pleasure of having him for Philosophy in First Arts. As a teacher he had us enthralled with his knowledge and wit. A very humble man, not boastful of the talents which God had given him. He will be sorely missed. Requiescat in pace.

Vincent Joseph Finn said...

I was utterly shocked and saddened to learn of Dr. Kelly's death. His untimely death is not only a tremendous loss of such a wonderful mind, but a wonderful person; I will always remember him for his wonderful tremendously quirky reply to how are you Dr. Kelly? "Could be worser2, in a briliant Dublin accent! May his gentle soul rest in peace.

Vincent Joseph Finn said...

I was so saddened to learn of Thomas Kellys death, he was such a joyful and kind hearted man, he is a loss in all circles of life, and will be sorely missed by young and old alike!May God Rest His Gentle Soul

Lilder said...

I did not know the man but from your description I wish I had.

He, his family, and you and Leah have been in our prayers.

Therese said...

I am also praying for you, Leah and Dr. Kelly's family.

Michael Kelly said...

I had the honour (and pleasure) of sitting at his feet for two years, though, I probably didn't appreciate it as much as I should've.
What a man, what a philosopher, what a human being.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis

Bonaventure said...

Praying for the repose of his soul and for his family here.

Angelo said...

We'll miss him.
(I wrote a few words about him in my Italian blog)

Anonymous said...

a beautiful tribute to a truly inspiring man. Thank you, and God bless you.

emartinez said...

I'm sorry for write in Spanish. Me he sentido conmovido por el fallecimiento del Prof. Kelly. En octubre me invitó a Maynooth, y me obsequió con la cordial hospitalidad irlandesa. Participé junto a él, su esposa Marian y mi esposa en la Misa tradicional el domingo de Cristo Rery. Se conmovió el sentir los versos de San Juan de la Cruz que le recité en español: "Adónde te escondiste, Amado, y me dejaste con gemido. Como el ciervo huiste, habiéndome herido. Salí tras ti clamando, y eras ido". Ahora él se ha encontrado con el Amado, Jesucristo. Descanse en paz. R.I.P.

Erin said...

I am truly saddened by the loss of such a warm and kindhearted man who touched the hearts of everyone he met.

My deepest condolences to his wife and mother. You are in my prayers.

Thomas Kelly you will be sadly missed.

-Erin and her mother Dr. Linda Mckenna

Alan Murphy said...

I never knew him by name but knew his face around the NUIM campus. I often privately thought of him as 'the laughing man' because any time I saw him if he wasn't openly laughing, there was a glint in his eye that said he was internally laughing at something anyway.

It's strange to think that I left NUIM four years ago and am living in another country but reading the University News and hearing of this death brought me right back to the 'Old' campus and sunny days walking through St. Joeseph's square on the way to a lecture in Callan Hall. R.I.P. Professor.

Anonymous said...

Was shocked today to learn of Professor Kelly's death. He was an extraordinary genius. My first year at Maynooth was made bearable by his lectures and personality. This world is indeed a darker place with his demise. May his gentle soul rest in peace and may his family take comfort in the fact that he was much admired, respected and loved by all who had the honour to call him 'Teacher'

Barry Walshe said...

For 2years he opened our minds. For the rest of our lives we will be in his death. God bless, god speed.

B Walshe. Ex seminarian student.

Barry Walshe said...

For 2years he opened our minds. For the rest of our lives we will be in his death. God bless, god speed.

B Walshe. Ex seminarian student.