Thomas L. Kielty started a Holy Saturday tradition at his parish, and this weekend the annual event became his eulogy, following his unexpected death.
Kielty introduced to St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church the Polish custom of blessing the food that will be used to make Easter meals.
On Saturday, as parishioners gathered to have their food blessed, with Kielty’s basket also there, they remembered the man who had devoted so much to the church.
His daughter, Sue Clark of Omaha, said her father suffered an apparent heart attack early Saturday, a few hours before the service.
On Easter Sunday, Kielty’s family still celebrated at his home, where Kielty had tables set for 40. He was the father of five, grandfather of 15 and great-grandfather of nine.
He worked for decades at the Omaha World-Herald in advertising, circulation and marketing, rising to director of circulation and president of a subsidiary, World Enterprises.
But it was his family that he prioritized, Clark said.
On Wednesday, Kielty had celebrated his 80th birthday surrounded by family members.
“Family means everything to me,” he told them and said his birthday wish was granted because they were all there with him, Clark said.
Kielty’s death comes just months after the death of his wife of 60 years, Patricia Kielty. The two were high school sweethearts.
An Omaha native, Kielty served in the U.S. Army in France. Soon after returning to Omaha, he started working at The World-Herald. Kielty took night classes at the University of Nebraska at Omaha for seven years, graduating with a business degree in 1973.
He retired from The World-Herald in 1998. He and his wife enjoyed traveling, playing golf and going on fly-fishing trips.
Kielty also loved hunting, served on the board of Crime Stoppers and for years was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Clark said. He had remained close with many of his former co-workers at The World-Herald, she said.
In addition to Clark, Kielty is survived by his other children, Kim Rasco of Lincoln, Debra Kielty, Todd Kielty and Thomas A. Kielty; brother Tim Kielty; and sister Barb Donovan, all of Omaha.
1 of 20
Claire Wickenhauser was well-known for her festive cake decorations at Emminger's Bakery, which she owned with her husband Ted. She died Dec. 30, 2018, at age 94. Read more
"Mean" Gene Okerlund, a gentlemanly wrestling announcer who specialized in interviewing the biggest, loudest and most obnoxious professional grapplers in the business, died Jan. 2 at age 76. Read more
Dr. Michael Patrick Metz was a noted pathologist and specialist who was a native of Omaha but spent most of his career in Australia. He died in Adelaide on Oct. 2 at age 63. Read more
For 25 years, Tom Marfisi provided trust and credibility as the City of Omaha’s labor relations director, say those who worked with him and negotiated against him. He died Dec. 31, 2018, at age 71. Read more
Retired Lt. Gen. Leo Dulacki, an Omaha native, served in the Marine Corps from 1941 to 1974, including a combat tour during the Korean war and two more during the Vietnam War. He died Jan. 4 at age 100. Read more
Robert Gregg Hoig, who survived a critical illness at 2 that cost him a kidney but then lived an active life of swimming, skiing and tennis, died Jan. 7 at age 86. Read more
Helen "Hani" Kenefick, wife of former Union Pacific president John Kenefick, died Jan. 7 at age 93. A longtime supporter of Sacred Heart School in Omaha, she also served on the boards of St. Joseph's Hospital, the College of St. Mary and volunteered at the Joslyn Museum. Read more
Del Weber served as UNO's chancellor from 1977 to 1997, a period of maturation and growth for the campus. He died Jan. 11 at age 86. Read more
Maj. Gen. Edward Binder fought in World War II and led the Nebraska Guard from 1977 to 1983. He died Jan. 7 at age 95. Read more
Harry A. Koch Jr. was known in business circles for leading the insurance brokerage his father founded in 1916 for more than 40 years; He expanded and modernized it before selling it to another local family-owned company in 2004. Koch died Feb. 24 at age 89 due to complications from a fall in November.
Businessman and philanthropist Lee Sapp, who co-founded the Sapp Bros. travel center chain with his three brothers, died March 30. He was 90. Sapp and his brothers Bill, Ray and Dean started the Sapp Bros. chain with a gas station on a plot of land at Interstate 80 and Nebraska Highway 50 in 1971. Read more
Dennis “Whitey” Mixan, 62, of Bellevue was a “terrible” high school wrestler but ended up the father of four state champions. And while Mixan loved to play guitar, other amateur guitarists sometimes outperformed him for a spot in Friday night jam sessions. But he kept playing and even built his own guitars, said his son Mike Mixan of Omaha. Read more
An ability to stay cool under pressure served Eugene “Gene” Beran, 88, well during his 27 years as a World-Herald editor. Beran, who came to the World-Herald in 1966 and retired in 1993, was the regional editor overseeing coverage of the Nebraska Legislature and state government. Read more
William “Bill” Sapp of Ashland, Nebraska, was the last surviving brother of the four co-founders of Sapp Bros. Inc., a national chain of travel centers and more. Sapp, 86, died less than a week after his brother Lee’s death on March 30. Read more
Most people knew David Deao as the owner of The Winery, a great little spot for buying wine and grabbing a made-from-scratch lunch. But Deao, 64, was also known for his enthusiasm for life and for his companionship, love and devotion. Read more
Cherrie Anderson was a pioneer who brought aerobic dancing to Omaha in the 1970s. Her dance studio, the Cherrie Anderson School of Music and Dance, has taught generations of children. Anderson died on April 5. Services were held April 10. Read more
Frank Matthews, a former president of the Omaha Bar Association, enjoyed a distinguished law career of 40 years. He and the former Helen Spencer, his wife of 67 years, also raised eight children in the Dundee neighborhood. Read more
William “Bill” G. Campbell IV, who co-founded in Omaha the firm that’s now known nationally as Kutak Rock, died April 13. He was 84. The longtime attorney is remembered for his sharp legal mind and mentorship of young lawyers, but also for being a renaissance man who loved to read, hunt and cook a good meal. Read more
Thomas L. Kielty, 80, worked for decades at the Omaha World-Herald in advertising, circulation and marketing, rising to director of circulation and president of a subsidiary, World Enterprises. But it was his family that he prioritized. Read more
Richard “Rick’’ Wenninghoff, a cousin to the Wenninghoff Farm family in Omaha, died April 22 at age 72. He had retired from farming in the Crescent, Iowa, area several years ago. Before retiring, he grew corn and soybeans and lots of vegetables that he would sell at the farmers market in Council Bluffs. Read more