Wednesday 23 January 2019

Fr Derry was dedicated to the people he served


The late Fr Derry Buckley.
The late Fr Derry Buckley.

Fr Derry Buckley of the St Patrick's Missionary Society in Kiltegan passed away recently aged 76 having spent most of his missionary life in Kenya.

Jeremiah Francis (Derry) Buckley was born on June 1, 1941, to Cornelius Buckley and his wife Mary (née Coleman) of Great William O'Brien Street, Blackpool, Cork. He received his primary education firstly at St Vincent's Convent Primary School and later at Our Lady's Mount (The North Monastery CBS Primary School). He continued at the North Monastery CBS for his secondary education. He sat the Leaving Certificate in June 1959 and came to Kiltegan in September.

He completed the Spiritual Year in June 1960 and proceeded to St Patrick's, Douglas, Cork, from where he attended UCC. He graduated with an honours B.Sc degree in 1964; the course for honours physics was extended by one year at that time.

He returned to Kiltegan for his theological studies and was ordained with 21 classmates on Easter Sunday in 1968 in St Mary's Church, Killamoat, Co Wicklow. The ordaining prelate was Most Rev Patrick Lennon, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. It was the second biggest class ever ordained for the Society.

After ordination, Fr Derry was appointed to the newly created Diocese of Nakuru. He and four classmates went to work there. Except for a short period in the early 1990s when Derry was on mission promotion work in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, Nakuru/Kericho was to be his home for almost 50 years. Fr Derry's first appointment was as a teacher in Michinda Secondary School, Elburgon, after which he worked as Parish Priest in the parishes of Njoro, Molo, Elburgon, Kericho and Kituro.

Fr Derry also worked as Procurator of the Diocese of Nakuru from 1982 to 1990. In 2006, he moved to St Mary's Pastoral Centre, Nakuru. This would be his home for the rest of his time in Kenya.

He was involved in helping schools, parishes and diocesan institutions in installing computer programmes for financial management. Fr Derry helped the Diocese of Nakuru to establish sound financial management systems and he was gifted in assisting the diocesan institutions in adopting these programmes. He was meticulous and painstaking in all these undertakings.

Fr Derry was a quiet and reserved man who went about his business with the minimum of fuss. He was totally dedicated to the people he served and was very much respected and admired by them.

He lived a very simple and uncluttered life. He was a very able administrator and with his background in science he was aware of the potential of computers long before most of his peers.

Even though his first preference was for pastoral work, he spent a considerable amount of his missionary life in administration because of the needs of the Diocese at that time. He also had a passionate commitment to justice issues. He came from a very sporting family; his late brother Tom played professional football for Aston Villa. He had a keen interest in all sports.

Derry returned to Ireland for medical treatment at the end of January 2018. While staying at the home of his brother in Ballinlough, he died suddenly.

His funeral took place in St Michael's Church, Blackrock, Cork. Immediately after the Mass the cortège left for St Patrick's, Kiltegan for burial.

Bray People