Father Frederick McKeever, 79 years of age, a professed Franciscan for 57 years and a priest for 52 years, died unexpectedly on Sept. 22, at his family’s home in Valley Cottage (Rockland County), N.Y.
Fred was born in New York, N.Y., to John and Agnes (Mooney) McKeever on May 4, 1927. On May 22, he was baptized John in the Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City. He attended St. Ambrose, Our Lady of the Lake, and Sacred Heart elementary schools. He was graduated from Cathedral Prep in 1945. He then entered St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y.
He was received into the Order at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., on Aug. 12, 1948 by Bertrand Campbell and professed his first vows there on Aug. 13, 1949, before Thomas Plassmann. He studied philosophy in Croghan, N.Y., and Butler, N.J., receiving his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from St. Bonaventure University. He then pursued theological studies at Holy Name College in Washington D.C., where he professed his final vows on Sept. 17, 1952, before Celsus Wheeler. Archbishop (later Cardinal) Amleto G. Cicognani, the Apostolic Delegate, ordained Fred a priest in Mount St. Sepulchre Friary Church, Washington, D.C., on May 5, 1954.
In 1954, he received a Master of Arts degree, and in 1960, a Doctor of Philosophy degree from St. Bonaventure University, where he taught of philosophy from 1955 to 1963. He was then assigned to St. Stephen of Hungary Church on East 82nd Street in New York City, serving from 1963 to 1967 as parochial vicar and then as pastor and guardian from 1967 to 1973. He then served a year as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Narrowsburg, N.Y., before serving briefly as parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Holy Angels in Little Falls, N.J.
From 1974 to 1975, Fred was a member of a team ministry at St. Elizabeth’s Friary in Wyckoff, N.J., and then for one year was assistant pastor at Queen of Peach Parish in Greenwood Lake, N.J. From 1976 to 1982, he was Pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Butler, N.J., before being assigned parochial vicar for one year at Our Lady of the Holy Angels in Little Falls. From 1983 to 1992, he was Guardian of Sacred Heart Friary in East Rutherford, N.J. From 1992, he was assigned to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., where he served as guardian of the friary in 1998 until July 31, 2006. He then became a member of the staff at Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fred’s Wake was held on Sept. 25 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, N.J. John Mahon, guardian of the friary, presided and preached. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated the following day at St. Anthony Church.Dominic Monti, Provincial Vcar, presided, and Bernard Creighton preached the homily.
Fred is survived by his brother, Joseph McKeever of Stony Point, N.Y., and sisters, Mrs. Joan Leonard of Nanuet, N.Y., and Sister Damian Marie McKeever, a Sister of Charity, to whom condolences may be addressed at 351 Svahn Drive, Valley Cottage NY 10989-1609.