Brother Finian Magee, O.S.F.

Brother Finian (Robert Magee) died August 27, 1993. Finian was born in Brooklyn on July 23, 1930, to George and Lillian (n?e McMahon) Magee. Finian graduated from Erasmus High School in 1947 and entered our congregation on July 26, 1953. He took first vows on January 29, 1956 and final vows on January 29, 1959. He received his B.A. from Saint Francis College in 1971, and pursued further studies at Molloy College, Ade1phi University, and C.W. Post College. During his thirty-nine years in our congregation, Finian taught in a number of schools: at Saint Leonard's High School (1955-1956), at Our Lady of Good Counsel (1956-1957) , at Saint Francis Xavier (1957), at Saint Aidan, Williston Park (1957- 1963), at Our Lady of Lourdes (1963-1964), at Our Lady of Good Counsel (1964-1966), at Notre Dame, New Hyde Park (1966-1969), at Saint Aidan (1969-1970), at Saint Brigid (1970-1971), at Saint Joseph, Babylon (1971- 1981), at Saint Mary Star of the Sea (1981-1982), at Saint Anthony High School (1982 - 1993). Finian was a complex man. Those of us who knew him, who lived with him and worked with him, sensed that his complexity was the unique product of his personality, talent, and the circumstances of his career as a teaching brother. Finian was a formidable personality. He was an excellent teacher. Indeed, he was a fine teacher because of his personality. Finian was at once commanding and compassionate, forceful and sentimental, tough and childlike. He was first, last, and always a grammar school teacher, and was never really comfortable outside the setting of a seventh grade classroom. This discomfort was occasionally the source of some tension for those who lived and worked with him. It was difficult for Finian to stop being a teacher, even in everyday dealings with those other teachers with whom he lived. Someone once described Finian as a benevolent despot in the classroom and a rank Irish sentimentalist in the recreation room on Friday nights. Both descriptions were true, but Finian may be remembered most as the man with genuine, albeit largely hidden, musical talent. He had a deep love for every kind of music: from waltzes, to German marching music, to Irish ballads. Furthermore, he was an excellent accordion player, and was most himself when playing music. Finian suffered from health problems most of his adult life. Serious leg disorders required him to wear a brace. Walking was difficult, and he could not stand very long while teaching. This disorder was compounded toward the end of his life by severe circulatory problems. He underwent painful surgery on both legs, and this condition, no doubt, contributed to the stroke which ended his life on August 27, 1993. Finian was devoted to his family, in particular to his mother and two sisters, and to all things Irish. Despite his many physical ailments he visited Ireland as often as he could. It could be said that Finian's worst pain was not physical. Rather, it seems what was most painful to him was the departure of the brothers from the grammar school classroom. He often spoke of this, not out of anger, but with sadness for a world which had passed away, for the loss of a place and a calling which was uniquely his.