Missionary, educator who worked with New Guinean youths dies in Boston

Father Kenneth Feehan, 1931-2010

Feehan,_Fr_Ken_for_webDivine Word Missionary Father Kenneth Feehan died Monday, July 26, at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Boston at the age of 79. Father Feehan’s legacy includes blazing trails in education in New Guinea, where he served as the first director of one of the Society of the Divine Word’s secondary schools.

Born in 1931 in Middletown Springs, Vt., and raised in Lowell, Mass., Father Feehan was the third of John and Margaret (Gallant) Feehan’s five children.

He became a Divine Word Missionary in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1959. In 1961, he earned a master’s degree in secondary school administration from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. That same year, he began his assignment to New Guinea, where he stayed for four decades.

From 1961 to 1966, Father Feehan served as headmaster of Malala Central Primary School in Alexishafen. His superiors then appointed him as the first director of the Divine Word Secondary School in Madang, a post that he held for 13 years.

From 1980 until 1990, Father Feehan did pastoral work in Wewak. This work overlapped with his role as the Diocese of Wewak business manager, which he performed from 1982 until 1998. In 2001, he returned to the United States and was assigned to Boston. While stationed there, he assisted at parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Boston and promoted the work of the Divine Word Missionaries in churches and schools throughout New England.

He is survived by three brothers—Gilbert F. Feehan of Lowell, Mass.; Alton B. Feehan of Nashua, N.H.; and Dr. Hubert Feehan of New York City.

His wake was held Thursday, July 29, at St. Joseph’s Church in Woburn, Mass. His funeral Mass, also at St. Joseph’s, took place on Friday, July 30. Father Feehan was buried at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Techny, Ill.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Father Feehan’s name for the missions in Papua New Guinea. They may be sent to Divine Word Mission Center, c/o Brother Dennis Newton, 1835 Waukegan Road, P.O. Box 6099, Techny, IL 60082-6099.

Return to Main Obituaries page