Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

Gloria Kehoe
(Ediciones Corregidor, 2004)

Kehoe, Gloria (1954-1977), short-story writer, was born on 25 September 1954 in Buenos Aires, the daughter of Ernesto Eliseo [Ernie] Kehoe Wilson (1926-1986) and his wife Ercilia, née Ackermann Calvete (1929-1998), a ceramics artist. Ernesto Kehoe worked in advertising and real estate , and also produced the film Dar la cara (1962). Gloria’s brother, Gustavo Kehoe (b. 1958), a folk musician, works in the Argentine Lower House. Gloria Kehoe's grandfather Eduardo Kehoe (1895-1941) was a manager at a meat-packing company in Paraguay and also lived for a time in Concordia, Entre Ríos province. The family descended from John Kehoe (1821-1890) and Julia, née Robbins (1832-1877), immigrants from the Irish counties Wexford and Offaly respectively, who settled as sheep-farmers in San Pedro, 157 km north-west of the city of Buenos Aires.

Gloria Kehoe's family was related to Juan Bautista Justo (1865-1928), MP and founder of the Socialist Party. Her great-grandfather was Col. Benjamín Calvete, a veteran of the Argentine wars against the indigenous peoples in La Pampa and the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay. Her paternal grand-uncle Fr. Federico Richards C.P. (1921-1999) was director of the Southern Cross, the Catholic newspaper of the Irish community in Argentina. The family, of a middle-class Irish and Swiss background, were intellectually progressive and frequently received visits from artists who had an influence on Gloria Kehoe's formative years.

Between 1961 and 1967, Kehoe was sent to Esteban Echeverría public primary school in Belgrano. She was subsequently enrolled at the Nacional Buenos Aires school. Although she was an intelligent, above-average student, her rebellious character triggered conflicts with teachers. She was not allowed to enrol for her final year of secondary school, and was forced to complete her secondary education at Nacional Vicente López, where she graduated in 1973. In 1976 Gloria Kehoe began studying literature at the University of Buenos Aires. She also attended the Ateneo Evita in Belgrano, and went to writing workshops offered by the Argentine Writers' Society (SADE).

Kehoe began writing stories at the age of fifteen, under the guidance of her parents and friends, including the writer Héctor Lastra. She worked diligently writing and correcting manuscripts, and at the age of nineteen she produced her first book, Pico de paloma (Dove’s Beak), which was published on 21 April 1977 by Corregidor publishers of Buenos Aires. Some of the short stories in this book have received critical acclaim.. In 1975, 'El reemplazante' won the González Tuñón award; 'El moro' was published for the first time in the literary review of La Nación newspaper.

During her time at Nacional Buenos Aires school, Gloria Kehoe joined various left-wing groups, including the Socialist Revolutionary Students Trend (TERS) within the Workers Party. In 1973 she was active in a unit of the Juventud Peronista (Peronist Youth). However, in 1976 she abandoned political activity to concentrate on the study of literature and on writing.

According to colleagues and friends who knew her in the mid-1970s Gloria Kehoe was an extremely beautiful young woman, with black hair and distinctive brown eyes. She was a determined person, sometimes moody, but usually with a refined sense of humour and a clever conversationalist.

From 1974 Gloria Kehoe lived with Adolfo Infante Allende (1940-1977), an activist in the Peronist movement. They lived in an apartment at Quintana avenue, but later the couple moved to Kehoe’s grandmother's house at 2212 Sucre street, in Belgrano district of Buenos Aires. They had no children.

On the night of 13 June 1977 Gloria Kehoe and Adolfo Infante were abducted, presumably by a navy death squad led by the intelligence officer Jorge García Velazco, and were interned at the Navy Mechanics School (ESMA) before being executed. Like many other family members of 'disappeared' persons, Ernesto Kehoe and Fr. Federico Richards sought the help of the Papal Nuncio in Buenos Aires, Mgr. Pio Laghi. The Nuncio's secretary, an Irish priest called Kevin Mullen who died in 1983 while acting as the Papal representative's secretary in Cuba, told them that they had an updated list of people killed by the military but her name was not included.

Edmundo Murray


- Conadep, Nunca Más: Informe de la Comisión Nacional sobre la Desaparición de Personas (Conadep) (Buenos Aires: Eudeba, 2001). Fifth edition.

- Correspondence with Gustavo Kehoe (3 January 2006).

- Goñi, Uki, The Silence of the Bishops: Priest Scores Church's Role in Argentina's Dirty War, in News Report (San Francisco, CA: Pacific News Service, 1995). Available online (, accessed 14 February 2006.

- Kehoe, Gloria, Pico de paloma y otros escritos (Buenos Aires: Corregidor, 2004). First edition Corregidor, 1977.

- Margulis, Alejandro, Hermanos: Gustavo Kehoe Wilson. Habría que reconstruir la historia de los desaparecidos in 'Ayesha Libros'. Available online (, accessed 7 February 2006.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 March 2005
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Kehoe, Gloria (1954-1977)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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