Sunday, October 17, 2010

Father Jack Deeves

Yesterday, heaven welcomed Father Jack Deeves, S.J. - inspiring priest, brilliant physicist, self-proclaimed "corny" comic, friend, eternal optimist, and heart transplant survivor.  For seventeen years, Father Deeves taught theology and pshyics at Ursuline Academy here in Dallas, where I went to high school, and I had the pleasure of knowing and learning from him for the last sixteen.  Father Deeves was a gentle giant - at least to a tiny little freshman!  I will always remember his reassuring voice, his endearing child-like smile, and forgiving nature.  On your worst days, he was there with a funny joke (or he thought so, at least) or a little song.  On your best days, he shared in your joy and seemed to make it multiply effortlessly. 

As a student, I always knew he had "heart problems", and I'm pretty sure I knew somewhere in the back of my mind that he had received a new heart.  When Keegan was born, Father Deeves was his biggest supporter and never failed to lift Keegan up in prayer daily.  In September 2007, Keegan became the smallest and youngest heart transplant recipient in Texas, and Father Deeves (transplanted in 1989) was the oldest living heart transplant in north Texas.  Dr. Ring, who founded the heart transplant program at Children's and was part of Keegan's initial repair, also performed Father Deeves's surgery.  Father Deeves was an inspiration to us in caring for Keegan and giving us hope for his future.  He never took for granted the the significance of his second chance at life, and he taught us to live each day grateful for the miracle that it is.


Keegan (40 days post-transplant), Alex, and Father Deeves (18 years post-transplant)- October 29, 2007

We will miss you, Father Deeves.  We are so grateful for the impact you had on our lives, and we will never forget you.  Please join us in keeping his family and the Dallas Jesuit and Ursuline communities in your prayers at this difficult time.

5 comments:

Texas Transplant said...

One time I fell asleep under the two desks he had backed up to each other during "break" time. Father Deeves let me sleep through the rest of the class. When the bell rang he woke me up and I said with surprise, "Oh my gosh Father Deeves! Why didn't you wake me up?!?" He told me that I missed a quiz and then that he thought I probably needed the sleep more than the grade. And then he told me he was joking.

He used to call me L Squared.

Claire Chandou said...

He used to called me C squared! Too funny. Like you said Maddie, he really was a gentle giant and always had a song in his heart and a smile on his face. That's very cool that he and Keegan share a thread of history and care...

Anne said...

Thank you for honoring Fr. Deeves! My sister Patricia Kaiser is missing him terribly, having become his friend 21 years ago when he was the hospital's first transplant.

Praying for your son...

Anne01 said...

Father Deeves will be missed by so many people. He was such a kind person, and always a light in a storm.

Becky '77 Loretto Academy, El Paso, Texas said...

Our love for Father Deeves was as great as yours. Father Deeves left a wonderful legacy for those of us who were lucky enough to have him as a teacher. Father Deeves left Loretto Academy (El Paso) after 4 years to teach at your high school. At the end of his tenure at Loretto in 1977, I presented Father with a Loretto diploma...the first and only male to receive such an honor. He was a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.