Ralph McInerny (1929-2010)

I'm so sad to hear that Ralph McInerny passed away this morning. There's a lovely first tribute to him here, and the description absolutely matches my own impression from a grad school summer spent at Notre Dame. A real scholar, but also kind, generous, modest, and funny. Frances Beckwith writes:
Ralph was the sort of intellectual giant that becomes more rather than less formidable when one attempts to explain to those outside the guild the scope and influence of his work, the generosity of his spirit, and the habits of Christian virtue and philosophical rigor that he imparted to his students and colleagues in both word and deed. Although I did not have the privilege to study under Professor McInerny, I am one of literally tens of thousands, both inside and outside the academy, who has been deeply influenced by his work and example.
Beckwith quotes a friend:
It was, from what I can discern, a happy death, serene and full of the acceptance that comes from a sure and strong faith. I know that for me, I never expect to know another like him in this life. He was outstanding in all the important roles of life: husband and father, friend and teacher, inspirer and witness, in love with God and truly loved by God. Has there ever been a happier man, a man more able to make all around him smile?
He was all those things, as you can read for yourself in his memoir, I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You
He was also, as I say, funny. He was a master of the pun, as a quick scan of titles in the list of his novels will reveal. The last time I saw him was at a banquet in his honor in 2006, at which, after a series of tributes, he was introduced to say a few words and began,
Well, it's only fitting at the wake you should at last get to see the body.
Prayers for his soul. His wife of more than 40 years preceded him in death. He's survived by six kids, and umpteen grandchildren.

Update: Thomas Hibbs with a remembrance.
Tom Hoopes' eulogy in NCRegister.