Joseph Randall Kiernan, 95, a data manager, adjunct professor, and author, died Thursday, June 2, at Chandler Hall Pavilion, a hospice section of the senior community where he lived in Holland, Bucks County. He was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
A man of many interests, Mr. Kiernan lived a life committed to his family, his country, his Catholic faith, his beloved Philadelphia institutions, and his belief in the goodness of people, according to his family.
“My dad’s faith was so strong,” his daughter Mary Boyle said. “He knew he was only going to be here on Earth for a short time, that the eternal life was to come, so he always maximized every day. He never wasted a moment. He filled every day with good deeds.”
A Philadelphia native who spent many years in the city, he also lived in Edgewater Park and Titusville, N.J., as well as Holland, and he kept in touch with people from all parts of his life.
“He was a friend to everybody,” his daughter said. “He was a connector. He was always checking in and touching base. He was selfless.”
The older of two sons of Randall and Genevieve Kiernan, Mr. Kiernan grew up in the Logan section of Philadelphia and graduated from Roman Catholic High School. He remained active in alumni activities all his life. His father died when he was a boy, and he was devoted to his mother, who never remarried, and his younger brother, Gerry, who lived with cerebral palsy.
During World War II, Mr. Kiernan served in the Army Air Corps as a B-24 Ball Turret gunner with the 741st Squadron, 455th Bomb Group and completed 35 missions over Germany, according to his family.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in business from St. Joseph’s University in 1949, and then a master’s in sociology from Temple University in 1952.
He married Elizabeth Huhn. They had five children and were together for 64 years until her death in 2014.
Early in his professional life, Mr. Kiernan was a social worker for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Assistance and a business reporter for Dun & Bradstreet Inc. He later began his career as a records and data manager with the RCA Corp. and then General Electric. He also worked as an adjunct professor of sociology at St. Joseph’s University’s evening division for 29 years. After retiring in 1988, he worked as a data management consultant.
Mr. Kiernan was also an author. He wrote and self-published five nonfiction books, including a memoir, My Life as a Guest, and a book about his wartime experience. He also wrote Billy Markward and Friends, a book about Roman Catholic High’s legendary basketball coach. His research helped make the case for Markward’s induction into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, his daughter said.
A devout Catholic, Mr. Kiernan was active in various parishes.
In addition to his daughter Mary, Mr. Kiernan is survived by son Mark,, daughters Jane Hartsough and Annette Lawlor, nine grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and other relatives. His son Randy died earlier.
A Mass of Christian burial in Mr. Kiernan’s honor will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 10, at St. Bede the Venerable Church, 1071 Holland Rd., in Southampton, followed by military honors outside on the church steps. A luncheon will follow. A private burial will take place at a future date.
Donations in Mr. Kiernan’s memory may be made to Roman Catholic High School, 301 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19107, and St. Joseph’s University, Office of Advancement, 5600 City Ave., Philadelphia, Pa., 19131.