Eulogy given by
Br. Eric Henderson, FSC
In the coming days, Br. Herman Paul and I, as well as colleagues, friends, and students will miss being with Br. James Kirkpatrick. We have done a lot together while living in the Bishop Walsh community for many years. While doing common daily activities and chores, we will likely be reminded of Jim having done these with us.
Our community of Brothers has enjoyed the times when Jim’s family would visit the house during the holidays. Jim would begin the plans months in advance. When the family members arrived, there were lots of vehicles, from which emerged lots of adults and children. There was lots of food. All of the food was good. And there was lots of laughter. Our door will remain open any time they wish to visit in the future.
In Bishop Walsh School, Jim was a respected teacher in the eyes of his students. He was versatile in his knowledge of Latin, Spanish, and French, had studied Greek, and created a religion course called Respecting Human Life. Although all of his courses were well taught and the students learned, they would speak highly of the values taught in the Respecting Human Life course. In addition to these subjects, I believe Jim could have easily taught courses in history. His knowledge of events and dates was remarkable.
Jim would often enliven his classes with stories about his time at St. Gabriel’s Hall and the young men who were committed there for a time. It may have been a story about tracking down a wayward student or the reasons why students were there.
Two cats found their way into Jim’s life and were accepted characters in our community, eventually living out full lives. Within the past two months, Jim took on two young kittens which provided all of us with smiles while watching their antics. This interest in cats and their behavior may have become the inspiration behind the stories of the now famous “attack cats” that checked the hallways each day for late and wandering students.
Jim provided guidance and leadership in several schools and in the St. Gabriel’s System that was based not only on theory, but more importantly from his experiences of working with our colleagues and young women and men. To ask his opinion was to stand on his shoulders.
John Acton, his nephew, referred to Jim’s physical activity even in his later years. It was only two or three years ago that he was biking on the Allegany Highlands trail. Herman and I were with Jim on numerous hiking, camping, and biking trips. The C&O canal trips were well organized by Jim. We came to appreciate this national park’s beauty and I marveled at the engineering done in a time when only humans, horses, and steam were the power behind the excavation of earth, and the placement of massive stones. The nephews and students who joined us on these trips became well versed in camping set up, cooking, and lore. They may in time have realized that a slow biking pace was best inorder to manage the 40 or 50 miles he had planned for the day. Jim never stifled their eagerness to be the first on the towpath each morning. They would often be waiting for us a few miles ahead, but they had also cleared all of the spider webs constructed across the path the evening before. The trips to the Western Maryland mountains, and Dolly Sods, WV left us memories of being lost, seeing animals and vegetation adapted to a higher altitude, and the beauty of God’s nature.
I am indebted to Jim for his quick response for a medical emergency I experienced. He drove us to the emergency room in four minutes, stayed all night at the hospital, called my family and our superiors, and then went to class the next morning on zero sleep. I reminded him of this while visiting him the Saturday prior to his death. Being able to return care, spend time with him while he was recovering, and provide for his needs was only a fraction of the care I could return. Family members Paul, Gay, Lois, Jerry, and Chris gave a far greater portion of care to him. The doctors, nurses, therapists have also shown their care and compassion, but it is Jim’s family that did “care” the best and for whom Herman and I are grateful. We have grown close to them. Jim leaves us, but we have many fine memories packed away.
Jim was faithful to our community prayer and to daily Mass. At times when he might not have been feeling up to being with us, he was with us. This spring he was back to driving us to church for morning Mass. I noticed in recent years, he would be praying the Rosary in the quarter hour we have before our community evening prayer. Several times he mentioned special intentions or persons for whom prayer was needed. The Rosary was on his hospital cart during several lengthy stays.
Lastly, I have been impressed with the help given to our community especially by Jim’s grandnephew, Chris. We enjoyed his visits to our house with his clients. He has a special gift to give to these young people and their special needs. In spite of being busy, he tells me to call him if Herman and I need anything. This is typical of Chris.
Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of
Br. James Kirkpatrick, FSC
Born James Thomas Kirkpatrick, Jr. in Altoona, PA on December 20, 1930
Entered the Ammendale Novitiate on June 14, 1948
Received the Religious Habit and Name, Brother Francis Gabriel on September 7, 1948
Pronounced Perpetual Vows in Ocean City, NJ, in 1955.
Brother James died at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in Cumberland, MD, on July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Viewing from 2:00 – 4:00 pm and 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Scarpelli Funeral Home
15205 McMullen Highway, SW
Cresaptown, MD 21502-5690
Friday, July 30, 2010
Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am
St. Patrick Church
201 N. Centre Street
Cumberland, MD 21502-2227
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Viewing from 10:00 – 11:00 am
Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 am
La Salle Hall
6001 Ammendale Road
Beltsville, MD 20705-1202
Burial in Brothers’ cemetery,
Lunch at La Salle Hall
SUFFRAGES FOR OUR DECEASED BROTHER JAMES
District: 50 masses
Bishop Walsh community: 30 masses
Each community in the District: 1 mass
Brother James passed away from complications after a lengthy battle with cancer. May he rest in peace.
Tour of Duty
Elkins Park, PA
St. Gabriel’s Hall
St. Gabriel’s Hall
Bishop Walsh School
Bishop Walsh School
St. Philip Neri School
Bishop Walsh Middle/High School
Assistant to Superintendent for Development in
Western MD Schools
De La Salle Hall
St. Mary Parish
retired / Teacher (part time)
Bishop Walsh School