Development & Alumni Relations Office 

Thomas Anthony McKeever LLB, 1948  (died 18 May 2013, aged 90)

Obituary provided by son Thomas and originally appeared in the Irish News on 6 July 2013.

Thomas McKeever would often tell people his priorities were 'faith, family and the fiddle". Faith was certainly central to his life.

It underpinned his choice of the legal profession as his career, his evangelisation work in the Legion of Mary as a young man, his deep involvement with the parish of St Teresa's in West Belfast and his vocation as a devoted husband and father.

With absolutely no family background in either Belfast or the law, he deserves immense credit for becoming one of the few Catholic solicitors in practice in his own right in the early years.

He opened his own firm in 1956 in Howard Street, faithfully returning every Wednesday part-time to both Randalstown and Portglenone, where he enjoyed serving his native communities.

The fiddle, meanwhile, was his principal way to relax.

Having learned how to play traditional music by ear from his father, he was also accomplished at the accordion, mouth organ, Jew’s harp, piano, singing and even whistling, for which he won a prize.

He played for the last time at his 90th birthday celebration, just weeks before his death on 18 May.

Born in April 1923 into a large family in Killygarn, Largy, Portglenone, Thomas Anthony McKeever was reared on a farm overlooking the River Bann.

He ultimately managed to obtain a law degree and qualified as a solicitor in 1951, having attended Sherman Memorial Largy School, St Malachy's College and Queen's University Belfast.

His education was entirely funded by his parents, a considerable achievement for the time.

The sale of Bann clay for bricks was of great assistance. He would also help out on the farm during holidays and one of his specialties was the painting of old horse mowing machines for onward sale after mechanical restoration by his brother.

The Second World War broke out days after he went to board in St Malachy's and after the Blitz, he had to evacuate from Belfast for a year by bus each day to Toomebridge. Unlike Portglenone, Toomebridge had a direct bus line.

Thomas was impressed with the idea of being able to live out his Catholic faith and values in the secular world as a lay man in a service role, which led him into the solicitor profession.

He married Dympna McGurn in St Teresa's Church in 1958 and they had four children.

Thomas was deeply involved in St Teresa's parish, including being instrumental in the formation of its parish choir in the early 1980s. He was also involved in lay initiatives at diocesan level, retreats for lawyers and support for the unborn.

The sacraments and prayer, especially the Holy Rosary, were crucial for him, as was the visitation of the sick. He was a firm believer in the need to continuously educate oneself in the Faith and ensure knowledge of it was able to match secular education.

Thomas survived illness in childhood and three heart surgeries in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. He often joked that God owed him some extra years and He answered his prayer.

Thomas is survived by his wife Dympna, daughters Eilish and Dympna, son Thomas, sons-in-law Anthony and Joseph, daughter-inlaw Anne, five grandchildren, brother Joseph, sister Sr Clare and sister-in-law Carmel.

Thomas was predeceased by his daughter Aine, six sisters and three brothers.

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