Queen's University

Remembering Padre Laverty

A 1947 photo of Padre Laverty
Padre Laverty officiating at a baptism in 1948.
Laverty with members of the Brockington visitor committee, with their first speaker, Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.
Padre Laverty and his wife, Frances, regularly invited students to their home for tea and conversation.
The Padre leading students in song at Orientation 1979.
The Padre was an integral part of Queen's for generations of Queen's students.

Padre A. Marshall Laverty, University Chaplain from 1947 to 1983, died on Sunday, February 20. 

Affectionately known to generations of Queen’s students, staff and faculty as “the Padre” – a nickname he acquired during the Second World War while serving as chaplain in the Canadian army – Rev. Dr. Laverty was considered a campus institution. His appointment as Queen’s Chaplain in 1947 was the first of its kind to a Canadian university.

An ordained minister of the United Church of Canada, Padre Laverty performed countless baptisms, marriage ceremonies and funeral services for Queen’s people during his tenure and after retirement. At a time when Queen’s was a much smaller place, he personally connected with a large proportion of the community, assisting with queries and requests for help, and welcoming many into the home he shared with his wife, Frances, near campus.

There will be a memorial service in celebration of his life at Chalmers United Church, 212 Barrie St., Kingston, on Saturday, April 30 at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations to The Padre and Mrs. Frances Laverty Bursary at Queen's would be appreciated by the family.

Please see the Spring 2011 issue of the Queen's Alumni Review for an obituary. 

Queen's Alumni Review, 2011 Issue #1Queen's Alumni Review
2011 Issue #1


As a new Artsci frosh wandering on campus in 1982, it was wonderful to meet the Padre and have him know and fondly remember Frank "Pep" Leadlay. I was the only Leadlay of my generation to attend Queen's, following in Pep's lively footsteps and talking about him and what he meant to Queen's football and later buildings on campus (1950s) helped to cement my love of Queen's and Kingston. The Padre was a very special spirit and will be fondly remembered, and I'm grateful for the time and care he so willingly gave to make me feel welcome and at home at Queen's all those years ago.
Margaret (Leadlay) Waldner, Artsci '85, Con-Ed '86

The Padre was renowned for never forgetting anyone's name. If he had met you once, the next time he saw you he would address you by your Christian name. He was so very kind and had a way of making everyone feel special, which was appreciated by a young undergraduate in 1978.

Kathy Geiger

I arrived in Kingston in 1968, just married, as a new graduate student. Fresh from New Zealand, Worldly unwise, finding my way in Canada. The welcoming events for new students were friendly, enabling us to get established. Padre Laverty and his wife graciously invited small groups of students to their home, and we remember them for their generosity, warmth and humanity, and the huge part they played in making Queen's the great university that it is.

With sincere sympathy to the Laverty family.

John and Donna Allen, Auckland, New Zealand

My recollection is that Padre and Mrs Laverty invited all first year students to their home for a Sunday evening.Mrs. met us at the door and intoduced us to Padre who then introduced us in turn to all who had preceded us-and so on until all had arrived. Thereafter Padre never forgot a name even calling me by name when I first saw him after a 3 year absence between graduation and return for Law.

A fine gentleman supported throughout by his wonderful wife.

My sympathy to family.

Rod Follwell
Arts 65 & Law 71

As a first year student I could hardly wait for the famous Sunday invitation...then when the day arrived I was terrified that I would forget something!!! The Padre's memory for names and faces was phenomenal to say the least.Many years after I graduated and completely in a place out of Queen's context he greeted me as he had when I was a student..with warmth and sincerity.He was in many ways to me the real Queen's...a place where folks cared for and about each other.He will long be lovingly remembered and verly much missed.
Lynne Kerr

Padre was a great mentor to many students and was always there to support you whenever you needed it. He was a great supporter of our entire 89-90 AMS Council. A magnificent man!

I am deeply thankful that Queen's was still small enough that the Padre (and his generous wife -- Mrs. Laverty to me back then) still tried to host most frosh in their home on Alberta Street in small gatherings for good conversation. Thus began a ten year face-to-face relationship and life-long friendship. The occasions were many -- University Services in Grant Hall, Holy Communion in the Chapel, long talks in his office in the Gym, meetings with small groups of us in the SCM to help plan programs and events, chance meetings on the campus. A more open-hearted man I have yet to meet. He touched my mind, heart and spirit.
Ruben (Butch) Nelson, Arts '61 and Theology '64.

Padre Laverty was a significant role model and mentor in my life and I remember him with both fondness and a smile. During University years, when many young people struggle to hold onto their faith, the Padre was a grounding force for me, encouraging me to question, search and seek for truth. His love for students and his Lord endeared him to us all. In 1980 when we chose to be married, Padre Laverty lead the ceremony ,and I will remember forever his twinkling blue eyes, and bushy white eyebrows as I said my marriage vows :)
Mrs. Laverty you were a very special lady too, thanks for the Sunday's at your home!
Carolyn Jones Nursing '79

Padre Laverty became a very good friend to my late husband and me, both while we were students, but even later when he stayed with us here in Nanaimo several times on his cross-country trips to encourage students to go to Queen's. We also enjoyed Mrs. Laverty's teas when we visited Kingston on Reunions or Grant Hall Society dinners. They will always be fondly remembered. He was a true Christian gentleman.
Patricia Radcliffe, Meds'53

My husband and I were one of the couples that Padre married. In the University chapel in 1963. He was a wonderful, caring and very human chaplain and I remember him with great affection.

I was a just-arrived-in-Kingston Meds'57 freshman wandering the streets in search of lodging. I don't remember how I met him, or where, but the Padre introduced himself and then told me about a room on Arch Street, which became my home for that first year. Back in those olden days, Padre Laverty, as many will recall, prided himself on knowing every student's name. He would even cross the street to greet you by name! Except he always called me "Dave." I know he will be missed, both in person by his friends and loved ones, but also by the many thousands of Queen's alums who remember him with great fondness.

Don Wolochow, Meds '57
La Jolla, CA

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