PROVIDENCE – Rev. Edward Louis Cleary, O.P., 82, died Nov. 21 at the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas at Providence College. A member of the Dominican Friars (Order of Preachers) of the Central Province of St. Albert the Great (Chicago), he taught at Providence College since 1993, retiring earlier this year with the rank of professor emeritus.
Born in Chicago, Ill., he was the son of the late Emmet and Mary (Novotny) Cleary, and attended Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. and the Dominican Houses of Studies in River Forest, Ill., and Dubuque, Iowa, where he earned a bachelor’s (1953), licentiate (1953) and master’s (1954) degrees in theology from the Aquinas Institute of Theology. On May 25, 1957, at St. Rose Priory in Dubuque, Iowa, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Edward Hoban of Cleveland, Ohio. Father Cleary earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975.
Father Cleary’s priestly assignments included San Jeronimo Seminary/St. Andrew English School, La Paz, Bolivia (1958-1962); St. Xavier College, Chicago, Ill. (1962-1966); the Dominican Mission Vicariate in La Paz, Bolivia, as vicar provincial (1966-1971); the University of Pittsburgh, Pa., where he was assistant director of the Center for Latin American Studies (1973-1976); Aquinas Institute of Theology, St. Louis, Mo., where he taught and served as vice president/academic dean; the Institute of Latin American Studies, Columbia University, New York, N.Y., serving as a research associate at the Institute of Latin American and Iberian Studies; the Research Institute for the Study of Man, also in New York City, where he was a fellow; and the Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, Ohio, where he served as director of the School of Theology Hispanic Ministries Program.
In 1993, Father Cleary began his career at Providence College as a faculty member in the Latin American Studies Program within the Department of Political Science, also serving as program director beginning in 1995. Father Cleary organized and participated in many joint Providence College-U.S. Naval War College student and faculty forums. He was a faculty affiliate of the Harvard University David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in 1999-2000, and a visiting scholar at the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of California at Berkeley in 2000-2001.
Father Cleary’s writing and editing credits included numerous books and also a number of Web sites. A noted authority on Latin America, and especially the Catholic Church in Latin America, he contributed to films on that region and wrote numerous articles, chapters, and book reviews for scholarly and theological publications.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Nov. 28 in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary at the Priory of St. Thomas Aquinas. Burial was in All Saints’ Cemetery, Des Plains, Ill.