In Memoriam: Kenneth F. Happe ’58, Associate Professor Emeritus, Classics

June 26th, 2013 by College of the Holy Cross


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Kenneth F. Happe ’58, associate professor emeritus of classics, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 24.  He was 78.

After having spent close to 50 years at Holy Cross—first as a transfer student from a Jesuit seminary and then as a faculty member teaching in the classics department and staging more than 30 theatrical productions on campus — Prof. Happe retired in 2001.

Prof. Happe graduated from Holy Cross in 1958, then received his PhD in classics from Yale University in 1963.

During his career, he formed many strong connections with students who shared his passionate and wide-ranging interests in literature, theatre, and travel. Known for his wit and generosity, he maintained friendships with alumni over the years, often visiting them during his frequent worldwide travels.

Calling hours are Thursday, June 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday, June 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Miles Funeral Home, 1158 Main St., Holden, Mass.  A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 29, at St. Mary’s Church, 114 Princeton St., Jefferson, Mass.

A complete obituary will appear in the fall issue of Holy Cross Magazine. If you have a special memory or story about Professor Happe, you are welcome to share it by leaving a comment below or emailing hcmag@holycross.edu. Remembrances may appear in the magazine or in an online tribute.

For additional information, please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 508-793-2419.

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Comments (5)
  1. Steven Key says:

    I first met Prof. Happe when I took his intro to Greek class. He knew I loved to sing and encouraged me to not only sing but to expand to the stage. Somewhat reluctantly, I did. But then when I left HC, I stopped. He contacted me when he auditioned for a play in Boston right around the time he retired from HC. He encouraged me again to consider acting. He got me thinking about it and I jumped all in. I will never forget when he came to see me perform “Stuff Happens” in Boston. I could see the pride in his eyes. It was an honor to have been touched in some way by Prof. Happe. Magister, requiescat in pace .

  2. Richard Carlstrom says:

    There are not enough superlatives to describe Ken Happe. He embodied so many of the characteristics that are great about Holy Cross. He was supremely intelligent, he had a tireless curiosity for just about everything, he was passionate about the arts, culture and travel and had copious opinions to share about it all, served with his wicked wit. He collected friends and admirers world-wide through his constant travel and students followed him like a Pied Piper through college and for decades thereafter. Why? Because he was one of a kind! There will NEVER be anyone remotely like Dr. Ken Happe again. We have lost a a very rare gem.

  3. Bill Tosches says:

    Ken was a great friend who always made you chuckle. Although I never had him as a professor during my four years, my friends did and always enjoyed his classes. I bumped into him in 1971 in Delphi, Greece on Good Friday when I heard his infectious laugh coming from a taverna after a long service at the local church. Thus began a 40 year friendship.
    Ave atque Vale Ken.
    Bill Tosches ’67

  4. JP Brown says:

    Ken was first a teacher, then close friend, of my father’s. I first met him when I was just a kid, spent some brief time with him and his theatrical friends years later at some script readings, and spent more time with him a couple years ago when my Dad got sick. Anyone who knew him knew him to be a brilliant and genuine character who lived fully. He will be missed. He already is.

  5. Yvonne Lopez says:

    I am saddened by the news of the passing of Professor Happe….I did not have the pleasure of taking any classics classes with him, however, he was a patron of the arts and you could always find him in the theatre dept,encouraging us with his positive comments and support. He truly was a special man and my prayers go to all the family and friends he left behind….he will not be forgotten.

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