Tom Clancy, 66, was supporter of Catholic education

October 02, 2013

By George P. Matysek Jr.

Twitter: @ReviewMatysek

Even after Tom Clancy became an international bestselling novelist whose fans included the likes of President Ronald Reagan, the Baltimore-born writer never forgot the role his hometown Catholic education played in giving him the tools to his success.

“My Catholic education taught me the value of thinking for myself,” Clancy said in a 1990 radio ad promoting Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Clancy, best known for works including “The Hunt for Red October” and “Clear and Present Danger,” died Oct. 1 at a Baltimore hospital, according to a tweet sent by his publisher. He was 66.

Clancy grew up in Baltimore and was a graduate of the former St. Matthew School in Northwood, Loyola Blakefield in Towson and what is now Loyola University Maryland.

Several of the books were adapted for the silver screen, and he later became a minority owner of the Baltimore Orioles and co-founder a video game company called Red Storm Entertainment.

In an interview with Catholic News Service in the mid-1990s, Clancy said Catholic schools taught him the same values that were being touted by then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

“God and country and family,” Clancy said. “All the stuff that should be ordinary, but isn’t.”

Catholic educators, including the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Jesuits, also imparted a very important lesson for his line of work, he said: “I try real hard to make my deadlines.”

Clancy’s Catholic background was evident in some of the plotlines of his works. “Red Rabbit” is based on a fictional letter from Pope John Paul II to the Communist government of Poland in which the pope threatens to resign the papacy and return to Poland to be with his people.

“The main characters in all my books try to get the right thing done, act with the proper motives, not to violate their own integrity,” Clancy told Catholic News Service.

Nick Alexopulos, media relations manager for Loyola University Maryland, said in an Oct. 2 statement that the Loyola community is “saddened” by Clancy’s death. Clancy graduated from Loyola in 1969.

“Mr. Clancy was a prolific author with a passion for storytelling that engaged people all over the world,” Alexopulos said. “He truly embodied the creativity we inspire our students and alumni to bring to their personal and professional lives, and we are proud to call him a member of the Loyola University Maryland family. Our prayers are with his family, friends, and classmates at this difficult time and in the days to come.”

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