The old adage, “Once a Marine, always a Marine” certainly applied to Brother Thomas Reidy. The mili-tary bearing from his time with the Marines never left him, and his novitiate classmates affectionately called him “Captain Reidy.” After graduating from Archbishop Stepinac High School, where he met the Xaverian Brothers, and Providence College, John Edmond joined the Marines spending three years with them before he became a lay teacher at St. Francis de Sales High School in Utica, New York. During his year in Utica, he taught young men who would become his novitiate classmates in the Xaverian Brothers.
Since he had his degree before he entered, he was assigned, immediately after his profession, to Malden Catholic High School where he remained until 1966. He returned to Utica in 1966 to our new Notre Dame High School, and in 1968 he began an association with St. Joseph Regional High School which would cover thirty-two years over two assignments.
In 1969 Brother Thomas was posted to Kitale College in Kitale, Kenya where he remained until 1974. From 1974, until he returned to the United States in 1978, he was stationed at Eregi College in Maragoli, Kenya. During his time in Kenya, he was elected Dean of the Kitale Vicariate by the religious serving there, and he was also our regional superior in Africa. Returning to St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale in 1978, Thomas spent the rest of his life there.
At heart Tom was both a Marine and a missionary. His rugged nature allowed him to deal with the dis-comforts of Africa and his missionary spirit remained with him throughout his life. As Brother William Cushing commented in his reflections about Tom,
“He accompanied the basketball teams not only because of his love of the sport, but he also felt strongly that in doing this, he was making Christ present to many people. This was also true of his work in the classroom. He loved teaching some of the slower students in mathematics and felt called to teach theology and thus open a way for young people to encounter Christ. When he at-tended meetings of the Montvale police department, he did this to be of service and to help any-one to see the presence of God in their lives. No life was too unimportant for him; no one too in-significant.”
Tom worked until, literally, he was unable. He perhaps suspected the deep-rooted cancer which was slowly taking his life. After a brief stay at Xaverian House, he died under the care of the Dominican Sis-ters for the Relief of Incurable Cancer (the Hawthorne Dominicans) at Rosary Hill Home in New York. His funeral was a celebration of the many communities at Montvale that he had touched over his many years there. In his life, he certainly incarnated the motto of the Marines: Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. He lived and died a faithful and faith-filled man.
Brother Thomas (John Edmond Reidy)
Born: Mt Kisco, NY, January 2, 1934
Entered: Leonardtown, Maryland, July 8, 1960
Died: Hawthorne, NY, November 9, 2009