James F. Kilroy passed away on June 13, 2019. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 7, 1935, the son of the late John Patrick Kilroy and the late Nora Joyce Kilroy and brother of the late John Patrick Kilroy, Jr. He is survived by his wife of fifty-eight years, Mary Carroll Kilroy; three children: Maurya (John), James Dennis Kilroy (Ashley), and Mark Justin Kilroy (Wendy); eight grandchildren: Catherine Kilroy, Elizabeth Kilroy, Margaret Kilroy; Helene Lovett, Daniel Lovett, Francis Kilroy and Agnes Kilroy; and a step-grandson, Gerardo Suazo (Maria) and his three children: Lorena, Alejandro and Julian Suazo. He is also survived by his niece Mary Ellen Konz and nephew John Kilroy of Des Plaines, Illinois.
He was educated in Chicago, and earned his bachelor’s degree at De Paul University. After teaching for several years in that city, he returned to graduate school at the University of Iowa, from which he received his Master’s degree, and then at the University of Wisconsin, which awarded him a PhD in 1965. His area of specialization was nineteenth and twentieth century English literature. He served for eight years in the Naval Air Reserve, from 1954 to 1962.
He began his academic career at Vanderbilt University, where he remained from 1965 to 1984, advancing from Assistant Professor to Professor, and assuming administrative duties as department chair and later as Associate Dean of the Graduate School. In 1984 he came to Tulane University as Dean of the College of Arts and Science, moving on to serve as Dean of the Liberal Arts and Sciences faculty, and subsequently, from 1990 to 1996, as Provost of the University. In 1996, he returned to full-time teaching and research in the English department. He retired as Emeritus Professor of English in 2004.
He was the author of nine books of literary scholarship, primarily on the history of Irish drama, as well as sixteen articles and reviews. He served on the editorial boards of three academic journals, and on various national and local advisory boards. His reputation as an expert in the field of study was reflected in his appointments to the faculty of the Yeats International Summer School in Sligo, Ireland in 1982 and 1984, and The British Studies Program in Oxford, England in 1977 and 1981.
In his final years of teaching, his skills were acknowledged by awards as best teacher of the year from both Tulane College and Newcomb College. For his achievements in developing leadership an annual award, the Provost’s Award, was established in his name.
A Mass will take place at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St. Charles Avenue, on Monday, July 8th at 1p.m. Visitation at the church will start at noon on that date. A reception at Poydras Home, 5354 Magazine Street, will follow the service. The family requests that no flowers be sent, but contributions could be made to the Second Harvest Food Bank or Amnesty International.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Francis Kilroy, please visit our floral store.