Rev. J. M. McDevitt, an Ex-Councilman, 75

By Rusty Pray
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 5, 1999

The Rev. John M. McDevitt, 75, a teaching priest who once served on Philadelphia City Council, died of liver cancer Sunday at the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales Center in Childs, Md.

Before entering the priesthood, he served a term in Council from 1958 to 1962, representing the 10th District, which includes neighborhoods in the Far Northeast.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1966, Father McDevitt went into teaching. He taught theology at several high schools in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Northeast Catholic, his alma mater, from 1968 to 1980.

He had two tours of duty at Salesianum in Wilmington, in 1967-68 and from 1982 to 1989, then taught at Father Judge from 1989 to 1994, when he retired.

After retiring from teaching, he assisted at St. Joseph's Parish in Warrington until July.

All the while, he put the lessons he learned in politics to good use.

"He was always out raising money to support the places, institutions and organizations he supported, like Northeast Catholic, Salesianum and the Oblates," said the Rev. Gerald Dunne, Religious Superior of the Father Judge Oblate Community in Philadelphia and a close friend of Father McDevitt's.

Father McDevitt, who grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from Northeast Catholic in 1942 and earned a degree in business management from La Salle University in 1956.

He was one of the founders and served as first president of the Summerdale Boys' Club and was the founding president of the Northeast-Suburban Athletic Conference.

Father McDevitt is survived by a brother, Joseph, and many nieces and nephews.

A viewing will be held at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow in the chapel at the de Sales Center. A Funeral Mass will be said at 5 p.m., followed by burial in the cemetery on the grounds of the Center.

Memorial donations may be made to the Oblate Retirement Fund, 2200 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Del. 19806.


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