18 DECEMBER 1965, CBC Brother Jimmy Reidy (pictured) dies.
THE ‘FOUNDER’ OF KEELEY PARK
Brother John Maurus Reidy whose death on 18 December 1965, we regret to record, may be considered one of the foundation members of the Christian Brothers in South Africa. He was remarkable for the long span of his religious life and for the length of continuous service given to one school, CBC Kimberley.
Born in 1878 in County Clare Ireland, Brother Reidy entered the Congregation of the Christian Brothers in 1893 and having taught for six years in Ireland came to Kimberley in 1901. Here for an uninterrupted period of sixty four years he devoted himself to the welfare of College boys, taking special interest in coaching cricket, soccer, tennis and gymnastics. Some twenty four Old Boys of College who began their training under him subsequently gained Springbok honours.
For many years he was in charge of the Cadet Detachment and the laying out of the various grounds owe much to his devoted labours.
In this connection, when news of his death spread, “The Diamond Fields Advertiser” referred in an editorial to his influence thus:
“The influence for manly, sporting and upright behaviour which the late Br Reidy cast on schoolboys through sixty-four years of distinguished service in Kimberley can never be measured. It is an uncalculable but not really an unknown quantity because the example and precepts of a dedicated teacher are reflected in facets of human behaviour, appreciation and respect on the part of his pupils. Those facets shine with the brilliance of diamonds throughout the lives of the pupils who have received the sporting polish from the dedicated master.”
No reference to Br Reidy’s interest in sport would be complete without a reference to his work on Keeley Park, the College’s largest sports ground comprising four rugby grounds, two hockey and four cricket grounds covering an area of approximately twenty acres. Today it is a monument to his patience and perseverance. Daily he cycled down to the job closest his heart for almost ten years till a year or so before his death at eighty-eight.
All these activities, however, were only part of Brother Reidy’s contribution to the education of his pupils. In addition to regular religious instruction, there was always the influence of his own example. The Brothers with whom he lived knew him as a simple, religious man who derived his childlike enthusiasm and charity towards all men from a strong Christian faith which he nourished by daily prayer and a faithful attention to his religious obligations.
If example be more powerful than precept his record of seventy three busy, happy years in the service of God and youth must make a strong appeal to the generous spirit of our boys. Where are the successors to men like Br Reidy to be found? Surely among our South African boys in our various Colleges. To follow in his footsteps would be the kind of memorial that he, without doubt, would most ardently desire.
May he Rest in Peace.