Kearney first worked as a technician working with Professor W. David Kingery and Professor Robert L. Coble and the ceramics research groups in what is now the Department of Materials Science and Engineering (DMSE). Although he officially retired in 2002, he continued his affiliation with DMSE, first as a part-time lecturer and then assisting with custom equipment design and construction in Professor Yet-Ming Chiang's lab until earlier this year.
Kearney was known for being exceptionally generous with his time and expertise, giving advice and assistance to generations of graduate students in their thesis research and teaching undergraduates the fine points of sample preparation and equipment use. The acknowledgments section of many theses written over more than four decades reflect the gratitude that students felt for his help in the laboratory and for providing a welcoming environment.
His dedication to students was recognized by MIT with the James N. Murphy Award for contributions to community life. He was proud of his work, frequently bringing his grandson to MIT to show him the labs.
Kearney is survived by his sons, Stephen A. Kearney and Patrick J. Kearney, and daughters Mary P. Kearney and Deborah A. Kearney. His wife Mary E. (Flynn) Kearney predeceased him.
All are welcome to visiting hours at the McNamara - Sparrell Funeral Home, 30 Central St., Norwell, Mass., on Thursday, June 13, from 4 - 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the Forsyth Chapel at Forest Hills Cemetery, 95 Forest Hills Ave., Jamaica Plain, Mass., on Friday, June 14, at 11 a.m.
Donations in Kearney’s memory may be made to Sisters of Poor Clare, 920 Centre St,. Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; to Mass Vest-A-Dog, P.O. Box 48, Walpole, MA 02081; to St. Joseph’s Indian School, P.O. Box 300, 1301 N. Main Street, Chamberlain, SD 57325; or to a charity of your choice. Expressions of sympathy for the family can be sent to DMSE Headquarters, 6-113.