Father Fahey, fund-raiser at blackjack tables, dies

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BOSTON — When the Rev. Joseph Fahey sat at the blackjack tables, he once said, it was "all for the greater glory of God."

The Rev. Fahey, assistant for finance of the New England province for the Jesuit order, donated tens of thousands of dollars to his order with the help of card counting — the same skills that landed him on blacklists at casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.

Card counting involves keeping track of the proportion of high and low cards as cards are dealt from a deck.

The Rev. Fahey died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at the age of 65.

"Many Jesuit missions owe a great debt to him and his abilities at the card table," said John Dunn, who worked for the Rev. Fahey at Boston College High School.

As president of the school from 1988 to 1998, he boosted its endowment by 500 percent, financing an athletic center, library and computer laboratory.

He had a doctorate in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was ordained a priest in 1968, and was a teacher and administrator at Holy Cross College and Boston College.

He treated Boston College students to a lesson on card counting on the last day of each semester.