Long-serving priest dies at 100

Last updated 12:59 17/12/2012
Chalky Duggan

Marist priest George "Chalky" Duggan died in Upper Hutt recently, aged 100.

Relevant offers


Disabled man who cannot stop eating fighting for more support Hamilton machete victim recalls horror attack Extreme weather thrashes country Family thanks community for helping buy van for son with CDKL5 Partner of Kiwi detainee speaks out about detention centre struggles Missing swimmer, search concluded for the night Wellington bashing victim barely able to eat after 'random' late-night attack Global focus on child abuse shifting from response to prevention Positive reception from Aus trip fuels fight against 'injustice' - Andrew Little Turakina Maori Girls' College closed due to multiple failures, minister says

Long-serving Marist priest George "Chalky" Duggan, once described as "chief among the divine publicists" by a Wellington journalist, has died in Upper Hutt, aged 100.

He died at St Joseph's Home of Compassion yesterday, where an official blessing from Pope Benedict had been conferred upon him on his 100th birthday earlier this year.

Duggan was a lecturer based on the hill overlooking the Mission Vineyard for many years at Mount St Mary's, Greenmeadows, in Hawke's Bay. 

He was also a regular contributor to letters to the editor pages of numerous publications throughout New Zealand and abroad.

A West Coaster, Fr Duggan, SM, was ordained in 1936 in Rome on the feast of St Thomas Aquinas, whose work he studied.

His nickname "Chalky" originated from a boxer named Chalky Duggan.

Duggan was born in Runanga near Greymouth and was educated by the Mercy Sisters and Marist Brothers in Greymouth and Reefton.

His secondary education was at St Bede's College, Christchurch, where he was dux in both 1927 and 1928.

He won a University National Scholarship in 1928 - the first St Bede's student to do so.

A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said his colourful and non-compromising denunciation of what he considered to be aberrant or erroneous theology and doctrine meant that he was often engaged in feisty exchanges of view in letters to the editor columns of numerous publications.

Those who knew him personally however knew a very different man from his public persona.  

He was a keen sportsman, a counsellor and a man skilled in the domestic arts of cooking and preserving, the church spokeswoman said.

In recent years, he became increasingly frail, and lived in the care of the Silverstream Home of Compassion, supported by his Marist confreres at the neighbouring Marian Court.

Despite impaired hearing, he enjoyed visitors and conversation and happily recounted stories of his many and wide experiences.

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content