Neil McNeil’s founding principal Fr. Michael Troy dies at 93

  • March 25, 2010
{mosimage}TORONTO - Fr. Michael Troy was known to the first class of Neil McNeil High School graduates as a spiritual father and well-respected leader. So much so that students called him the “Big Daddy” of Neil McNeil.

Fr. Troy, C.S.Sp., was the founding principal of the high school in 1957. He died at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital March 19. He was 93.

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, was president of Neil McNeil’s first graduating class and its first valedictorian. He recalls Fr. Troy’s kindness in the way he remembered Hughes’ mother’s prayer intentions at every Saturday Mass he celebrated in more than 30 countries for more than 50 years.

Fr. Troy was also an excellent role model for young men at the school, he added.

“He was a man’s man,” Hughes said. “(Fr. Troy) was trying to tell young boys that they needed to grow into strong men, knowing that meant having great respect for women, seeing them as equals, helping them to develop as well as themselves.”

Fr. Troy’s leadership and enthusiasm infused the students with great school spirit, Hughes said.

Fr. Troy was named superior and principal of Neil McNeil High School in 1957. He left for Edmonton in 1964 where he became assistant principal of the Archbishop MacDonald High School. He also served as teacher, coach and chaplain at St. Joseph’s High School. Although he retired in 1983, he continued as chaplain and chaplain “emeritus” at the school until his death.

From 1983-1994, Fr. Troy served as editor of the Spiritan Missionary News. He was also involved with the Knights of Columbus, served as chaplain of the Canadian Armed Forces reserves and director of the Edmonton Holy Child Association.

Fr. Patrick Fitzpatrick, C.S.Sp., had just entered the seminary at 18 when he first met Fr. Troy in Ireland in 1953. Fr. Troy was the director of the Spiritan seminary’s house of philosophy at that time.

Fitzpatrick, who would follow in Fr. Troy’s footsteps as principal at Neil, said Fr. Troy was “energetic, forward-looking” and taught him that “whatever talents we have been given are God-given talents and are talents to be used.”

Fr. Paul McCauley planned to join his fellow Spiritans, alongside Edmonton’s Archbishop Richard Smith and Archbishop-emeritus Joseph MacNeil, in concelebrating the funeral Mass, which was to be held March 26. McCauley said Fr. Troy was humble about his work including his ministry with the Metis people in Edmonton. Fr. Troy raised awareness about issues important to the Metis, celebrated Mass for them, provided some educational instruction and was the founder of the first Edmonton Archdiocesan Native Ministry.

He was also an avid sportsman and instilled a love for athletics in his students, McCauley added.

Fr. Troy’s legacy in Catholic education was highlighted in the naming of a school in his honour. In 2003, the Edmonton Catholic school board unveiled the Fr. Michael Troy Junior High School.


Friends and relatives of Fr. Troy who are unable to attend his funeral at Edmonton's St. Joseph's Basilica at (Friday, March 26 2010, 01:00 pm EDT) can view the service online from a special page on Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes' website at


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