By Fr. Mark Miller, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Gerald “Tex” Keindel died on the morning of Monday, August 14th at Villa Marguerite in Edmonton at the age of 82. He had been diagnosed four months earlier with esophageal cancer for which radiation was prescribed to stop the tumour from closing his esophagus but which would likely not be amenable to further treatment. A shunt was inserted in his esophagus to enable him to swallow, but he ate and drank very little the last few months of his life.
Born in Tessier, SK he was raised in Saskatoon. He and has family were active participants of St. Mary’s parish and in 1949 he joined a number of young men from Western Canada who journeyed to St. Mary’s College in Brockville. He entered the novitiate of the Redemptorists in L’Abord-à-Plouffe, Quebec with Fr. C. McElligott. The novitiate was moved in the spring of 1956 to Senneville, QC where he made his first profession of vows on Sept. 15, 1956. His profession class was the largest in modern times.
After studies in Woodstock, ON (1956-57), he completed his B.A. at Assumption University and then finished his theology studies at Holy Redeemer College, both in Windsor, ON. He was ordained on June 17, 1962 by Archbishop Anthony Jordan, OMI in the chapel of Holy Redeemer College, Edmonton. He celebrated his 55th anniversary of ordination this year.
Fr. Gerald Keindel’s nickname—Tex—stuck with him for his whole life. His sister Mary told me that he had a very strong stutter as a youngster and the Redemptorists helped him to overcome it, with professional help, so that he slowed down his speech—and the family thought he sounded like he had a drawl. Hence, he became Tex and then Fr. Tex, as he was known throughout his ministry.
He obtained a number of degrees during his life: B.A., B. Th., S.T.L. (Laval, 1964), B. Ed. (1965, University of Alberta) and Masters in Pastoral Counseling (1980, St. Paul’s University, Ottawa). He taught for a year at HRC, Edmonton (1965-66) before being assigned to St. Joseph’s Parish in Moose Jaw, where he also served as a board consultant in Religious Education (1966-69). Fr. Tex spent most of his career ministering in parishes. He was pastor at St. Gerard’s, Yorkton (1969-75) and St. Mary’s, Beaverlodge (1981-90) and in both of these parishes he oversaw the building of new churches. In Beaverlodge he organized and oversaw a paper recycling endeavor that helped pay for the church. He also served in Redemptorist parishes in Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, and Saskatoon. In 2002 he moved to Villa Marguerite where he assumed many of the administrative responsibilities for the community, the Redemptorist Centre for Growth and the Clement House property. He was an excellent bookkeeper/accountant and his mind was as organized as his room was messy!
Fr. Tex was a steady, dedicated presence wherever he went. He served faithfully and could be tapped on the shoulder to go the extra mile. I do not recall him ever complaining; on the contrary, as his brother Vince told me, he loved being a Redemptorist and that was how he identified himself. He also had a special concern for the poor and marginalized. In his final years as he slowed physically he took up knitting—preparing scarves, vests and toques to be used in winter by people in need—and donating them to the Marion Centre in Edmonton.
He was predeceased by his parents, Edwin and Veronica (nee Clarkson) Keindel. He is survived by his brother, Vince (Saskatoon), and his sister, Mary Lucki (Hawarden, SK) both of whom came from Saskatchewan for his funeral. (I note that when I went with Tex to visit his doctor on the Thursday before his death, the doctor asked him if there was anything he really wanted on this last journey. Tex replied that he wanted to stay alive long enough, and in good enough shape, to see his brother and sister who were planning to come in about ten days to visit. Alas, their visit was postponed due to another funeral, but the wish would have still remained unfulfilled, as he died rather unexpectedly four days later.) Vince Keindel’s family – sons Darrin, Edwin and Kevin, and daughter Denita—along with Mary’s daughter, Laurie, also attended the funeral along with their children. At the gravesite several of them spoke about how much they enjoyed Uncle Gerald when he came to visit their families.
The management and staff at Villa Marguerite graciously allowed us to celebrate the Funeral Mass for Fr. Tex on Friday, August 18th, in their chapel, a place where he had often said Mass himself. He was interred at Holy Cross cemetery, by my count the 70th confrere to be buried there. May he rest in the Peace and Love of Christ.