Father Thomas B. Kirchmyer, MM
Born: September 19, 1928
Ordained: June 13, 1959
Died: June 3, 2000
Father Thomas B. Kirchmyer died on Saturday, June 3, 2000 at the Society Center, Maryknoll, New York. He was 72 years of age and a Maryknoll priest for 41 years.
Thomas Kirchmyer was born on September 19, 1928 in Buffalo, New York, the third son of five children, born to Herbert and Mildred Boiler Kirchmyer. He attended St. Brigid’s Elementary School and Technical Vocational High School in Buffalo, New York and attended St. Jerome’s College (preparatory seminary) in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, for one year before entering Maryknoll at Brookline, Massachusetts in September 1949. Father Kirchmyer was ordained on June 13,1959.
After ordination, Father Kirchmyer was assigned to the Chile Region, and upon completion of language studies in Cochabamba, Bolivia was first assigned in January 1960 to Chillan, Chile. A year later, he was assigned to San Juan de Dios Parish in Santiago, where he remained for two years. In 1963, he was assigned to Portezuelo, a rural parish, for two years. In 1965, he was named Pastor of a new Maryknoll parish in Talcahuano (Hualpencillo) in the Archdiocese of Concepcion where he remained until 1972. In 1967 he was elected Second Consultor of the Region. While in the United States on furlough in 1970, Father Kirchmyer took a Clinical Pastoral Education course. He was elected Regional Superior of the Chile Region for a three-year term in 1972.
The Superior General wrote to him at the time of his election with these words: “I want to congratulate you personally on this clear evidence of the esteem and confidence in which you are held by your brother Maryknollers in Chile. At the same time, let me assure you that we have every confidence in your ability and experience, as well as in your evidenced zeal and dedication to both the apostolate and Maryknoll.” He was re-elected to this post for a second term in 1975.
In July 1978, Father Kirchmyer was assigned to the Development Department in Cleveland, Ohio. In March 1980, he was appointed Director of the Office of Society Personnel, and in 1983 was re-appointed for a second three-year term. While serving as Director of OSP, Father Kirchmyer was elected Assistant Regional Superior of the United States Region. In September 1986, he was appointed as Director of the New York City Society House and Administrator of the United States Regional Office at this residence. Father Kirchmyer was elected Third Assistant Regional of the United States Region in 1988.
From 1992 to 1997, Father Kirchmyer was Administrator of St. Teresa’s Residence. The men at St. Teresa’s Residence felt that Father Kirchmyer was always present and available to them. He was respected by the men. Many said of him that he was a gifted homilist. It is important to note that Father Kirchmyer initiated the Rush Institute Study for Religious on Alzheimer patients for St. Teresa’s. After completing two terms, he took up residence in the Seminary Building where he assisted the Center Coordinator, particularly assisting families and visitors attending the funerals of Maryknollers.
Father Kirchmyer was a friend, mentor, spiritual director and counselor to many Maryknollers. His gentle and compassionate presence was appreciated and many sought him out for guidance. He had the respect and admiration of his Maryknoll Family and will be missed by many.
Father Kirchmyer loved being from western New York. He was a dedicated fan to the Buffalo Bills and was known to enjoy a horse race or two. Anyone who watched a Bills game with Father Kirchmyer or went to the track with him knew the level of dedication he had to both interests in his life. He was known to say many times over the past few years “just give us one more chance at the Super Bowl.”
Wake services were held on Tuesday, June 6, 2000 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Teresa’s Residence and 4:30 p.m. at Queen of Apostles Chapel at the Maryknoll Society Center where Father Wayman Deasy officiated and Brother Donald Miriani read the biography. Mass of Christian Burial was concelebrated at Queen of Apostles Chapel on Tuesday, June 6, 2000, at 7:30 p.m. Father Arthur Dwyer was principal celebrant and Father William Frazier was homilist. Burial followed at the Maryknoll Center Cemetery with Father Thomas Henehan conducting the graveside service.