BUTLER, N.J. — Gerald McCaffrey, OFM, died unexpectedly at the age of 79 on Jan. 31 at St. Anthony Friary. He was a professed Franciscan for 58 years and a priest for 52.
A wake was held Feb. 3 at St. Anthony Church in Butler, with a Wake Service presided by Bernard Creighton, OFM. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, celebrated a Mass of Christian Burial Feb. 4 at St. Anthony Church. Joseph Nangle, OFM, preached the homily. The St. Bonaventure University community, where Gerald was a graduate of and longtime staff member, held memorial services on Feb. 5. Interment followed at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, N.Y.
Gerald was born Aug. 7, 1931, in Brooklyn, N.Y., to Bernard and Margaret McCaffrey and baptized Bernard. In 1949, he graduated from St. Francis DeSales High School in Utica, N.Y., then studied at St. Bonaventure University, Allegany, N.Y. from 1949 to 1951, where he was drawn to the Franciscan friars who staffed the university.
In 1951, Bernard entered the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province, receiving the name Gerald Thomas. He earned a B.A. from St. Bonaventure in 1954 and professed simple vows the following year and solemn vows in 1955. He was ordained a priest in 1958.
Following ordination, Gerald participated in the “fifth year” pastoral theology program at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston and served as parochial vicar for a year at Our Lady of the Angels Parish in Little Falls, N.J.
He then dedicated himself to the ministry of education. Having already taken graduate courses in philosophy at St. Bonaventure University during the summers, he received an M.A. in 1961. However, Gerald was increasingly drawn to the field of mathematics.
From 1960 to 1962, he taught math and was moderator of athletics at Walsh High School in Olean, N.Y. He then taught for a year at Bishop Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y. In 1963, Gerald went on for graduate studies in mathematics at the St. Louis University, receiving a M.S. degree. Leaving St. Louis in 1968, he served for seven months at St. Francis Chapel in Providence, R.I., before returning that fall to his alma mater — St. Bonaventure University — as professor of mathematics.
Over the next quarter century, he also served in the positions of vice president for student affairs, athletic department chaplain and moderator of athletics. He received an M.Ed. in counseling from St. Bonaventure in 1978.
In 1994, Gerald joined the staff of St. Anthony Shrine in Boston as pastoral associate, ministering there for the next eight years. In January 2003, he was assigned as parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish in Callicoon, N.Y. He retired from active ministry to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, in September 2004.
Gerald was inducted into St. Bonaventure University’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009 at a ceremony in the Reilly Center. According to the ceremony program, “Induction into the Hall of Fame recognizes and honors those individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the intercollegiate programs at St. Bonaventure, and who have continued to demonstrate in their lives, the values imparted by intercollegiate athletics.” He was one of four people inducted that year.
Gerald is survived by his sisters, Mary Brennan of Charlotte, N.C., and Kathleen Friedman of Sharon, Conn., as well as several nieces and nephews. Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Kathleen Friedman, P.O. Box 506, Sharon, CT 06069.
Memorial contributions may be made to: The Franciscans — St. Anthony Guild, 7 Jersey Street, East Rutherford NJ 07073-1012.
— Compiled by Rebecca Doel