Funeral set for Tuesday in Champaign for Deacon Scanlan

CHAMPAIGN — A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 30, at St. Matthew’s Church here for Deacon Richard Thomas Scanlan, a permanent deacon of the diocese who is also remembered as “a legendary teacher” at the University of Illinois.

Deacon Scanlan died Sunday, June 21, 2009, at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 81.

Msgr. Mark Merdian, pastor of St. Matthew’s Parish, was to be principal celebrant of the funeral Mass. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Champaign.

Visitation will take place Monday, June 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive West, in Savoy, with a rosary service at 4:30 p.m.

Born May 30, 1928, to Robert L. and Catherine Rockstroh Scanlan, he was married to Donna Mary Campion of St. Paul, Minn., for 57 years. She survives, as does a son, John (Gail) Scanlan of Lenexa, Kan.; four daughters, Susan (Matt) Keeley of Naperville, Cathy Scanlan of Chicago, Anne (Steve) Nordmark of Chicago, and Meg (Scott) Bird of Overland Park, Kan.; and 12 grandchildren.

Deacon Scanlan formerly taught Latin and classical mythology at the University of Illinois. His entertaining and thought-provoking style proved so popular, according to David Sansone, head of the Classics Department at the university, his classes filled Foellinger auditorium, which holds 1,200 students.

He was a member of the sixth class of permanent deacons for the Diocese of Peoria, and was ordained on May 17, 1997. He served at St. Matthew’s Parish until his move to senior status in 2007.

Msgr. Merdian called him “beloved” and said his preaching style was popular like his teaching style. At St. Matthew’s, he was a former president of the parish council and taught adult education classes on scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the life of St. Paul. He also visited patients in area hospitals.

In 2005, Deacon Scanlan received the Pere Marquette Award from the Diocese of Peoria for his outstanding service. He was involved in Cursillo for more than two decades.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Edina Education Fund/Scanlan Latin Scholarship, 501 N. Normandale Road, Edina, MN 55424.

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