Edward B. McKee, O.S.A.

1905 – 1974 (January 2)

Edward Bernard McKee, son of George McKee and Sarah McCloskey, was born in Philadelphia, PA, on August 25, 1905. He began his education at Saint Rita Parish School, South Philadelphia, followed by one year at Roman Catholic High School, and three years at Villanova Preparatory Scholasticate. Received as a novice on June 25, 1924, he professed simple vows on June 26, 1925 and solemn vows on June 26, 1928. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova College in 1928, and began theological training at Villanova and completed it at Augustinian College, Washington, DC. He was ordained to the priesthood in Washington on June 9, 1931. He obtained an MA degree in religious education from the Catholic University, and fulfilled most of the requirements for his doctorate there.

Father McKee’s first assignment was as an instructor in religion at Villanova College, where he remained for the first 25 years of his ministry. He was a prefect in the residence halls all those years, was chairman of the Department of Religious Studies, moderator of The Villanovan and director of the Catholic Press Apostolate. He organized intramural sports on campus from 1932 to 1944, and was moderator of varsity sports from 1944 to 1956, He was named vice president and dean of men in 1944, and assistant to the president in 1956. After a brief period as prior of the Villanova Monastery, Father McKee was appointed in 1957, prior and pastor of Old Saint Augustine’s Parish, Philadelphia, where he remained until 1971. During this period he undertook a remodeling of this historic structure.

While he considered his most important work at Villanova that of teaching religion, he maintained a full athletic program in all its phases. As moderator of varsity sports he traveled the country many times with students and influenced many newspapermen in the sports world. A kindly, warmhearted, understanding priest, he was tough when he had to be, strong on discipline but always fair. With his friendly, Irish smile he evinced a personal interest in the students which was returned a hundredfold. Later, as pastor of Old Saint Augustine’s in the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge he was called upon to dissuade a number of would-be suicides. In 1970, at the age of 65, he was pictured atop the bridge dissuading someone from his plans.

Plagued by failing health, Father McKee returned to the Villanova Monastery in 1971, and finally was cared for by the Sisters at the Villa of Divine Providence, Lansdale, PA, where he died on January 2, 1974. Father McKee is buried in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, PA.