LACON — The Rev. Kevin Gorman, O.S.B., monk and priest of St. Bede Abbey, died in his 87th year after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Lacon, where he had been a resident for almost three years. He had just returned the previous day from a brief stay at St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley.
Father Kevin was born at Monee on Jan. 3, 1926, the son of John E. Gorman and Lucinda Woeltje Gorman and baptized as Dale Francis Gorman. After six years at a local country school and the completion of seventh and eighth grades in a single year at Our Lady Academy in Manteno, he followed his older brother, Monroe, to St. Bede Academy in the fall of 1938 and there completed high school and two years of college in the next six years.
In 1944 he entered the monastic community of St. Bede Abbey, making his novitiate at St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., and professing vows on June 14, 1945. He then completed his college studies at St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kan., with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and mathematics, followed by four years of theological studies at St. Bede and ordination to the priesthood on May 13, 1951.
After his ordination, Father Kevin entered an agriculture program at the University of Illinois in Champaign, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in agricultural economy, and for the next decade he taught agriculture at St. Bede College, which had become a junior college after World War II. In 1961-62 he earned a second master’s degree in biology at the University of Notre Dame, and subsequently served as instructor in biology at St. Bede Academy for the next 20 years.
Father Kevin was best known to many people through his long-standing connection with the student athletic program at St. Bede Academy. This began already during his student days, when he served as manager of varsity teams, and later, as a member of the faculty, he served as athletic director from 1958 to 1984.
In 1984 he was assigned as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Peru, where he ministered for the next 10 years, during which he presided over the redecoration of the church and the construction of the new “Halle,” which serves as the parish hall and also as the gymnasium for Peru Catholic School.
In 1994 he became pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Cherry and St. Patrick’s Parish in Arlington, where he served until his retirement in 2008. In 2011 he observed the 60th anniversary of his ordination at St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Lacon, where he had become a patient in January of 2009, after he had spent some six months in retirement at St. Bede.
In addition to the monastic community, he is survived by his sister-in-law, Mary Gorman of Monee, and her family.
His body will be returned to the St. Bede Abbey Church at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The wake service will continue after the reception of the body until 8 p.m., with a prayer vigil celebrated by the monastic community at 7:30 p.m. and again on Wednesday from 2 to 2:25 p.m.
The Retired Rev. Philip Davey, O.S.B., abbot of St. Bede, will preside at the funeral Mass at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday with burial to follow in the abbey cemetery.
The Burgess Funeral Home of LaSalle is in charge of funeral arrangements. Online condolences may be left at www.burgessfh.com.