One of the final works of mercy of Dr. Kirk P. Gaddy’s life as a Catholic educator occurred June 13, when he helped transform St. Frances Academy into an impromptu cooling station for a Black Lives Matter protest.
Gaddy, 55, suffered a heart attack the next day, and died unexpectedly June 20. A lifelong parishioner of Historic St. Francis Xavier in Baltimore and major influence in the education of black youths from pre-K to college, Gaddy was in his second stint on the staff at St. Frances Academy, where he had been in the class of 1983.
“We were graduating kids individually (June 13), and couldn’t leave campus because the roads were blocked by protest traffic around the prison,” said Deacon Curtis Turner, principal/head of school. “It was a hot day, and Kirk made the most of the situation. He helped people cool off. That’s my last memory of him.”
That protest wound around the Baltimore City Detention Center on to Eager Street, where Gaddy’s life as a catechist, teacher, scholar, administrator and advocate for the Oblate Sisters of Providence had its roots.
His four older brothers include Redemptorist Father Kenneth Gaddy, associate pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus/Sagrado Corazón de Jesús in Highlandtown. Their parents, John and Beatrice, headed a home that included two of her sisters and their children, 15 people all told in a rowhome on Eager Street.
“There was a lot of noise, as you can expect,” Father Gaddy said. “There was also a lot of support and encouragement.”
All the Gaddy children attended Catholic K-8 schools, Ss. James and John for Kirk. In 2008, he recounted to the Catholic Review how he and his siblings spent Saturdays cleaning the schools they attended, and how he helped mow the grass at Redemptorist cemeteries.
“It’s something they instilled in us very early on,” Gaddy told the Review, of his parents’ sense of service.
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