Kevin Kealy was born June 20, 1921 and passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 31, 2021, 3 weeks short of his 100th birthday.
Many members of the veterinary profession in Ireland as well as Diplomates of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging (ECVDI) and American College of Veterinary Radiology (ACVR), and members of the International Veterinary Radiology Association (IVRA) will remember his wisdom, humor, and huge contributions to veterinary radiology.
His family was his priority. Kevin and Joan were married for over 60 years and they had six children and 13 grandchildren. He studied veterinary medicine in Dublin and subsequently graduated with honours in 1950 at the age of 29. He won all the available medals during his scholarly university career, and a selection were donated to the veterinary school in UCD following his retirement in 1988.
On graduating, he spent 5 years in general practice and Kevin then joined the Veterinary College in Dublin, Ireland in 1955. He became interested in radiology and spent a year (1957) as a Kellogg Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania training in radiology at both the medical and veterinary schools.
Kevin was among the early innovators and pioneers in the field of veterinary radiology; a discipline that was in its infancy, internationally, when he qualified. His achievements include.
In 1963, he co-founded the British Veterinary Radiology Association (BVRA) and subsequently was appointed its President in 1967.
In 1967, he was awarded an honorary, foundation Diploma of Veterinary Radiology by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and was appointed as examiner for the first formal examination of the Diploma in the same year.
In 1968, he established the first dedicated veterinary radiology suite in Dublin and installed one of the first overhead gantry X-ray machines in a veterinary school in Europe. In the same year he hosted the inaugural meeting of the International Veterinary Radiology Association (IVRA) in Dublin. The American delegation was headed by Drs. Myron Bernstein and Harker Rhodes. Kevin subsequently became secretary of the IVRA from 1970 to 1973, President from 1973 to 1976, and a Director from 1976 to 1985. In 1988, he was made an honorary member of the IVRA, an honour of which he was very proud and the testamur (illuminated address) he received hangs on the wall in the living room of his home.
He also became a member of the Veterinary Council of Ireland and was its treasurer from 1970 to 1972.
In 1973, he spent a 2-year sabbatical at the veterinary school at Iowa State University as Head of Radiology following the retirement of Dr. Mac Emerson. He then returned home to Dublin in 1975 and became Head of the Department of Veterinary Surgery.
He began writing “Diagnostic Radiology of the Dog and Cat” in 1975 that was published by Saunders in 1979. It became a highly successful textbook and was revised through five editions over the following 35 years. It was translated into eight languages including Polish, Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Chinese. The third and fourth editions were co-authored by his friend and colleague, Hester McAllister. In 2010, the fifth and last edition was additionally co-authored by John Graham and published by Elsevier.
He retired in 1988 from University College Dublin and spent 1989 covering a sabbatical for Dr. Barbara Watrous at Oregon State University. He also spent a semester at Ross University Veterinary School at St. Kitts in 1996.
He was an excellent teacher of veterinary students and trained many radiologists throughout his academic career. He reveled in catching up with colleagues at various radiology conferences and was renowned as a raconteur and for playing the piano at these meetings.
In 1993, together with two other colleagues, Dr. Christine Gibbs and Dr. Peter Suter, Kevin was tasked with establishing the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. He was a foundation member of the college which became formally established in 1994.
In recognition of his contributions and achievements, the IVRA established “The Kevin Kealy Award” in 2003. This is a perpetual award given every three years to a person who is deemed by the Executive Committee of the IVRA to have made a significant contribution to veterinary radiology.
Kevin was an avid crossword fan, tackling the complex “crossaire” every day. A gifted pianist, he often played at conferences during the evening events. He was an active member of his local community. He was chairman of the local resident’s association and played the organ in church every week for over forty years for which he was in receipt of a papal award, a Benemerenti Medal in 2011.
He was appointed Mayor of Dundrum, his hometown in Dublin in 1985 and 1986, and he played bridge twice a week right up to the latter months of his life. From time to time, he wrote poetry on a variety of topics that was often funny or philosophical. A few months before he died, he published a collection of his humorous poems for his friends in the bridge club and another group of Kevin’s poems were published which had a veterinary theme.
He continued to stay in touch with his many friends and colleagues, often including in correspondence, a copy of one of his poems.
He was a remarkable man whose veterinary career spanned some 61 years. The veterinary profession and especially the radiology community have been lucky to have had him as a colleague and friend. He will be dearly missed by his family, colleagues, and many friends.
The following poem he wrote in 2014 and is entitled: