Thomas George Bonaventure Kane
Class of 1980
Major: History/Political Science
It was never really a question of whether I would go to St. Bonaventure University. My father had gone to SBU and was a member of the Army ROTC Department sent to war in Korea his junior year before returning to graduate.
The brown robes were a familiar and welcome sight. In our household the Bonaventure fight song was sung by all and on the rare occasion St. Bona’s was on TV, we watched it and even went to the (Olean) Armory to see them (the Bonnies) play. Bob Lanier, John Hayes, Bill Butler, Billy Kalbaugh, Jim Satalin, and Larry Weise were all heroes to me. When Bill Kalbaugh came to my high school to recruit me (as if it was necessary), I immediately asked for his autograph.
I followed in my father’s footsteps and arrived at SBU in the 1976 and quickly signed up for ROTC and a new sport called “rugby.” I was determined to join the National Guard and be a history teacher somewhere close to home.
Things never go as you plan.
I received an excellent education and had some truly great teachers, who will be remembered always, but it was those around me who were to change me forever.
I met another history major, Richard “Felix” St. John, and we played rugby together and had a great time and became good friends. I was a townie; I had a grandfather and aunt who lived in Olean, but I was not from Olean. I did not fit in with the townies or the campus kids. Felix and Mark Repko changed that and I became an off-campus member of 4th Dev. They welcomed me in and made me feel a part of the community as did many others. Felix got cancer his junior year and struggled through it and died shortly after graduation. His dream was to be a lawyer, something that I never really gave serious thought to.
However, as a result of his dream and our friendship, I took on the objective and became a lawyer and served as an active duty judge advocate until my retirement as a colonel in 2004. I now practice as a civilian attorney, enjoy my family, serve as an extraordinary minister and coach all sorts of kids sports. I also did not give up on history. I am working in Carlisle, Pa., close to Gettysburg and in the center of Civil War and Revolutionary era history. I also advise the Army Heritage and Education Center and Carlisle Barracks.
There is no question St. Bonaventure and the wonderful people I met there and those who I encountered along the way who also attended St. Bona’s impacted and changed my life. I am not sure where my life will lead me now, but my love of the Brown and White and my Catholic faith will guide me, my wife and our six children, three of whom also attended SBU.