Celebrating a Legendary Teacher

This web site has been set up at the request of some of Dr. Patrick Casey’s former students, so that they, as well as his friends and colleagues, may share  their stories and reflections about this gifted and beloved teacher.

On August 6, 2012, in his 90th year, Dr. Patrick Casey died peacefully at his home in Washington, D.C.  He had been a member of the English department for forty-five years, and served as Dean of the Rome Center from 1966-1972.   His field was Irish literature, and he could make the great writers of his native country come alive for his students.  In recognition of his outstanding teaching and service, he was named Professor Emeritus when he retired in 1992.

Patrick Casey was born in Limerick, Ireland, where he attended Clongowes Wood College (James Joyce’s Alma Mater).  He read law at King’s Inns, Dublin, and was called to the Irish Bar in 1947.  He received his Ph.D. in literature from University College Dublin where he also studied Gaelic.

To commemorate Patrick Casey’s learning, gentle and generous spirit, and love of literature, the Department of English and Loyola University Chicago have established the Patrick J. Casey Scholarship Fund. For more information about this Endowment, and/or to make a contribution to it, please click here

We hope you will celebrate Patrick Casey’s memory by joining others in writing a message – a tribute, a memory – below.

Messages:

Blake Perz
Once I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the identical comment. Is there any means you possibly can remove me from that service? Thanks!
Barbara Becker Gold
I took Irish literature with Dr. Casey in 1983, and he was definitely my favorite professor. He would repeat meaningful phrases three times, like a bell tolling: "there is the man and the moment", "the sun, the moon, and the stars". I loved it when he did this--it made those words so powerful. He was wonderful.
MK Czerwiec
Dr. Casey inspired a love for Irish literature that I hold dear to this day.
Jim Rocks
In my 33 years as a faculty member at Loyola, I can say truly that I knew no one in any department of the university who communicated the joy of his profession, who cared for his students and colleagues and who loved his home country more than Patrick. His warm smile, his friendliness, his humility and his intelligence were extraordinary qualities that all of us who had the honor and pleasure of knowing him will remember.
norbert wiley
I had Pat for medieval drama in the early fifties. The comment of his I remember most is that "simplicity lies at both ends of sophistication." Norbert Wiley
deirdre kassay
Dr Casey will be missed for his gentle kindness. He always inquired about a student's life and upon learning my parents were from Ireland, he always asked after them too. Such a kind man and possessing the ability to make lit and writing interesting.
Pattie Connor Beem
"Isn't that right." Not a question. More like a nod after a well formulated, honest, wise statement of Dr. Casey's. One of my favorite memories of him that still makes me smile. And, yes, it was, he was, always right.
Fahamisha Patricia Brown
I entered Loyola University in 1960 and had Dr. Casey for Freshman English my first two semesters. When I declared as an English major, he became my adviser. He was the only English professor who encouraged my interest in African American literature. Unfortunately, he went off to Rome before I graduated. I remember him with great affection
Sheila Spica
I returned to Loyola after a ten year absence to complete my undergraduate degree in English. The first class I took was an evening British Literature class taught by Dr. Casey. I was a bit nervous returning to school and being one of the older students in the class. Dr. Casey made my return and the class itself almost joyous. Not only was he a learned man, but he would take the time to talk to me before class; not just about literature, but about my day at work. He truly made coming to class a pleasure. I will always remember him fondly!!
Marty Susz
Dr. Casey was one of the best professors I ever had at Loyola. He turned me on to Irish Lit... so much so that I actually made a trip to Abbey Theatre in Dublin via Euro Rail Pass while I was at the Rome Center in the mid 70's. His passion was contagious and he was unbelieveable patient in helping me understand Yeats and improve my writing. I was very fortunate to have had him as a teacher. May he rest in peace.
Mary Zannis
I was fortunate to have taken 2 classes with Dr. Casey. I really looked forward to going to his classes. He was so energetic and made class so much fun!
Patricia a. Coleman
I graduated from Loyola in 1981, having majored in English. I have so many fond memories of my days at Loyola, and Dr Casey is certainly one of them. I am so sorry to hear of his death, but I am happy to know that he lived a long, full life. Dr Casey had the rare ability to exhibit passion and enthusiasm during his lectures, although I am sure he had presented the material numerous times before. His enthusiasm was contagious. One couldn't help but feel energized and intrigued as he lectured. He was one of a kind. May he rest in peace.
Alfredo S. Hamill
I took Dr. Casey's course in Irish Renaissance Literature at the Rome Center back in'69-'70, practically a lifetime ago, but I still remember the passion and intensity he put into rendering the meaning and purpose of those writers of his land of origin. He as truly a man of literature and a man o deep feeling, characteristics which made him a very good teacher and a truly wonderful person. In the mid-90s in Dublin I actually went to try to find the old Abbey Theatre which Yeats and Synge had used (though it no longer exists), because of the impression he had left. I had not thought about him much over these past forty-odd years, but I now realize that I do remember him very, very well, as he stands out brilliantly among so many other faded memories and forgotten people.
Ed Flanagan
I will be honest. I did not go to Loyola Rome in 71/72 to study or read. I went for fun and because my school did not have enough girls. Then I took Dr Casey's Irish Renaissance and Dr Fink's Camus course. Never enjoyed studying, reading, talking-about-it more. Before or since! A really, really fine teacher who almost pulled off the impossible - making James Joyce pleasurable. Here's to you, professor!
John Colbert
11-27-12 Dr. Casey is one of a handful of people in my life that I feel very lucky to have known. From the moment I found his office in the old Lewis Tower in 1992 and he agreed to let me into his upcoming Irish Renaissance course to the last time I saw him two years ago, every encounter with him was enjoyable and interesting. I can recall many of his sayings, his manner, and his gestures: they were unique to him but were always inquisitive and gentle. He had a way of making one feel important and valuable. His special qualities were on display to me at first in the classroom, in Irish Renaissance, in British Literature, in a Shaw Seminar. To the students he brought a magical approach to the literature, Ireland’s history, and above all, to the writers. One felt a close connection to Synge, Keats, Wordsworth, Behan, Becket, and above all Yeats and Joyce, after hearing his lectures. And one could sense that he had that connection. Yeats and Joyce were his gods, I recall his saying at his retirement party. What he brought to us--those of us that listened closely--was a demonstration of what was so valuable in these writers’ lives and works: that is, their connection to humanity, to the daily lives of regular people. To hear him talk about the Christmas dinner scene in Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, or Yeats’s lifelong muse/love Maude Gonne’s visage being reflected in an image of a character standing before apple blossoms or, I think maybe his favorite, Gabrielle’s reflections on his wife’s earlier love in Joyce’s “The Dead” (Dr. Casey used to say that no short story equaled “The Dead”) was to have him open the door to the purpose of great literature: to illuminate and enrich life. Of course, his knowledge of the great works, scholarship and recall of the literature could never be questioned. He could recite so many lines. Yet despite his superior intellect and knowledge of the works and commentary, Dr. Casey always made me feel like my view was valuable. He had a humility and receptiveness to student views. He once told the story of walking across campus and being upset about some trifling matter, he said, and encountering a student who had had some truly tragic event, a death in the family, just occur. The realization stunned him and gave him perspective. He saw how trivial his annoyance had been. He related it to something we had just read aloud from Joyce, but his point was that sometimes gaining a new perspective was valuable. He said we often get so wrapped up in our own little irritations and inconveniences that we forget that some are going through some very hard times. The point was not unique but the manner with which Dr. Casey related it made those in the class aware that he had had on that day with that student an epiphany of Joycean proportions. No better way to illustrate the concept could have been used: it was precise, it was clear, and it was very human. Sometimes it seems that a mind so lively, witty, intense, complex and curious as his cannot be extinguished by some disease or other . . . Should not be, at least! When I received the news in August, I thought at first of W.H. Auden’s “In Memory of W.B.Yeats,” a favorite poem of Dr. Casey’s. I recalled his reading it in class: “What instruments we have agree / The day of his death was a dark cold day.” And, “Earth, receive an honoured guest: / William Yeats is laid to rest.” When we heard him read it in class that day, every student recognized that he saw the beauty of Auden’s tribute to Yeats, but more profoundly, Dr. Casey felt the sadness of the loss of Yeats that Auden’s lines expressed. All the people who got to know him will feel sadness at the loss of Dr. Casey and realize what a lucky chance they were given to know this fine man. John Colbert
Alicia Conroyd
I was a student of Dr Casey’s at Loyola’s Rome Campus. He was a brilliant teacher. He gave me a D on a dreadfully boring paper I wrote. Not accustomed to that grade, I asked if I could speak with him after class. Our walk down the hall lasted perhaps five minutes. It changed my life. We didn’t talk about how to write a better paper, or what subjects would be more appropriate. He talked to me about life. He talked about literature’s vibrancy. I have no recollection of his words, but they allowed me to step into a new world. He was pleased that his words during that short walk down the hall were understood. He began reading my papers to his classes (substituting, from time to time, a correct word for my written word). This is no credit to me or the papers I wrote, but to an outstanding teacher. Forty years have passed, yet I am in tears at the news of his inevitable death. I think of him every year, thanking him for his passion for literature, for teaching, for changing how I looked at literature, and at life.
Patty Stiles
I had the privilege of experiencing Dr. Casey's passion for Irish literature in class in Rome. I still remember how he never told anyone they were wrong; but would find something "right" about what they had contributed. He was both an energetic and gentle spirit. I will always remember him, and that wonderful class -- both were extraordinary!
Frank and Kay Fennell
What a splendid colleague and beloved teacher. We will miss his gentle and humorous spirit. But he lives on, in his students and his family.

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