Appreciation of Joseph Keenan (1944-2022)
The sudden death of Felix Joseph Keenan occurred on 19th May 2022. Joe, as he was affectionately known by his colleagues and friends, was a highly respected teacher of French, Spanish and Religious Education in St Malachy's College from 1967-1999. He worked very hard at promoting the then minority language of Spanish when French was the predominant choice of modern language in the College. Indeed many of his closest associates knew him as Jose, a daily (if limited) use of Spanish, which pleased him greatly. Always a confirmed Europhile, he accompanied numerous school trips of Malachians to both France and Spain, diligently fostering dissemination of the cultures of these two countries in the experience of countless young boys.
Joe also had much concern for the welfare of and conditions experienced by the teachers of St Malachy's. For over 30 years he was the union representative of the NASUWT, and grew that Union to become the largest in the College from the 1970s on. Ambitious for improvement in pay and conditions of service in the teaching profession as a whole, he held various positions in the local and national union structure, and even worked quietly behind the scenes for years after retirement in the welfare department of the Union, especially in the area of ensuring the spouses of deceased members were being fully supported. He dovetailed these labours with being a loyal stalwart of the St Vincent de Paul Conference in Ballyhackamore, as well as captaining "The Pedagogues", the quiz team of former teachers of St Malachy's, who miss him so greatly for his knowledge and insights.
On behalf of all who knew Joe as a colleague and friend, our condolences go to his beloved wife, Rosetta, and large family circle.
May his gentle soul rest in the peace of Jesus Christ, Whom he also represented so well on this earth.