Father Thomas Conroy

Please remember in your prayers Father Thomas Conroy

Please remember in your prayers longtime St. Thomas theology professor Father Thomas Conroy, who died at age 84 Thursday at the Marion Care Center in St. Paul.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. today, Monday, March 16, at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, 2001 Dayton Ave., St. Paul. Funeral services will be held there at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 17. Celebrating the Mass will be Archbishop John Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Conroy, who was the St. Thomas Professor of the Year in 1980, retired in 1999 after teaching theology at St. Thomas for 30 years and at the former Nazareth Hall Preparatory Seminary for 20 years.

His connections to St. Thomas go back to his days as a youngster. A native of St. Paul, he told an Aquin newspaper reporter in 1980 that "I’ve had a long relationship with this campus. It was our playground as kids. I perfected my golf game on what’s now called the North Field. We were always sneaking into the hockey rink, too. The groundspeople were very good about it. We never got run off."

Conroy studied at Nazareth Hall, the St. Paul Seminary, the University of Notre Dame, St. John’s University and several universities in Rome; he was ordained in 1948. During his tenure as chair of the Theology Department from 1969 to 1985, theology was added as a major field and the size of the department’s faculty more than tripled, from five to 17 members. He also served in parishes in the area and was the founding executive secretary of the Liturgical Commission of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

When residence hall floors were named in 1994, the third floor of Brady Residence Hall was named in Conroy’s honor. He lived for many years in the Faculty Residence on the north campus, and later moved to the Byrne Residence for retired priests on south campus.

"I thought the world of Tom Conroy," said Father John Malone, vice president for mission at St. Thomas and a student, colleague and friend of Conroy. "When I started Nazareth Hall in 1955, Father Conroy taught all the religion classes for the high school seminarians and all the theology classes for the first two years of college. 

"The number of hours he spent in front of classrooms throughout his life is not only amazing, but a testimony to the man’s commitment to his discipline and his love of his Church.  He taught us to love the search of faith seeking reason."