Father Thomas Devereux, O.S.B., died Saturday, June 21, 2008. He was born May 23, 1932 in St. Marys, Pennsylvania, a son of the late William and Isadora Devereux. He had one brother, the late Father Alexander W. Devereux of Saint Vincent Archabbey, and one sister, the late Mrs. James (Mary) Case of New Jersey. He is survived by three nieces, Jane Case of Tampa, Florida; Susan Constant of Pittsburgh; Kathrynn Hammaker of Mechanicsburg; and one nephew, William Case of Courtland, Ohio. He is also survived by five grand nieces and one grand nephew.
He attended Saint Vincent Preparatory School, earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1952 from Saint Vincent College, and graduated from Saint Vincent Seminary in 1959. He also studied drama at Catholic University of America.
He made simple profession of monastic vows on July 2, 1953, and solemn profession of vows on July 11, 1956. He was ordained a priest on May 23, 1959 by the late Bishop Hugh L. Lamb of the Diocese of Greensburg.
Father Tom served with the stage department of the Saint Vincent Preparatory School from 1955 to 1960 and was appointed director of the Saint Vincent Stage Guild in 1961. In 1969, he was named producer of Saint Vincent Summer Theatre. For more than 40 years, he shaped and molded the theatre. He directed and produced hundreds of shows, including Fiddler on the Roof, West Side Story and Arsenic and Old Lace.
“Father Tom built a web of friendships that runs across the country and across generations,” said Joe Reilly, longtime theatre director and friend, along with his wife, Pat, and daughters Colleen and Anne. The Reilly family worked closely with Fr. Tom directing and producing performances for Saint Vincent Summer Theatre.
He also worked with hundreds of actors and actresses, including Stuart Pankin, well known from television and films, and Mrs. Joy Pankin, who performed with the theatre in its early days.
“Something that I’ve always loved here is the relationship between the Benedictines and the theatre,” Joy Pankin stated. “Our friendship not only with Father Tom–for whom we have more respect, admiration and affection than we can say–but also friendships with other monks have been a wonderful part of our lives.”
Until 2003, when Father Tom suffered a stroke, he could be seen before every performance, standing at the top of the hill near the Science Center Amphitheatre, waiting for theatre patrons to arrive, where he greeted them and directed them to a parking space.
In 1984 he received the Community Service Award at the 40th annual meeting of the Latrobe Area Chamber of Commerce. He also received the Saint Vincent College Student Faculty Award and a Special Award in honor of his outstanding contributions to the improvement of student life on campus. He was a member of the National Catholic Theater Association and the American National Theater Association.
In 2007, Saint Vincent College established The Father Tom Devereux, O.S.B., Endowed Directorship in Drama and Stage, recognizing his contribution to the cultural heritage of Saint Vincent and the region. The event was highlighted with a tribute, “Fr. Tom Devereux: A Celebration of Service”, an evening of memories and laughter.
In addition to his theatre work, Father Tom served as assistant pastor at Sacred Heart Parish, Jeannette (1960-1961); residence hall counselor at Saint Vincent College, dean of students at Saint Vincent College (1975-1984); director of campus safety; and director of sports recreational facilities and special events (1989-2003).
Memorial contributions can be made to The Father Tom Devereux, O.S.B., Endowed Directorship in Drama and Stage at Saint Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Road, Latrobe, PA 15650-2690.
The body of Father Tom will be received on Monday, June 23, at 3 p.m. in the Elizabeth J. Roderick Center, Saint Vincent Archabbey. Viewing will be held in the parlor of the Elizabeth J. Roderick Center on Monday, June 23, from 3 to 5 p.m., and from 7 to 9 p.m., and on Tuesday, June 24, from 1 to 5 p.m. The body will be transferred to the Archbbey Basilica for the vigil service at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 24. Viewing will continue in the Basilica until 9 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the Archabbey Basilica by Archabbot Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., on Wednesday, June 25, at 10:30 a.m., followed by the rite of committal in Saint Vincent Cemetery.