"It is nice to be a young Jesuit, it is rewarding to be a middle-aged Jesuit, and it is pleasurable, at least if you are careful to prepare for it, to be an elderly Jesuit." ~Fr. Ted Walters, SJ
In Memoriam: Fr. Theodore W. Walters, SJ
Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr.Theodore (Ted) W. Walters, SJ, who died on Friday, September 9, 2016, at Pedro ArrupeCommunity, in Karen-Nairobi, Kenya. He was 90 years old, a Jesuitfor 73 years, and a priest for 60 years.
Born in Cleveland on July 28, 1926, Ted attended gradeschool at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Cleveland, and went on to Saint Ignatius High School. He joined the Society of Jesus on August 20, 1943, at Milford Novitiate inOhio. After pronouncing first vows, he completed two years of juniorate at the same formation house inMilford, while also studying at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Ted did his first philosophy studies and classes in Greek and Latin at Saint Louis University. During his regency, he taught classics for a year at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., andfor two years at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. In 1953, he received a master'sdegree in Latin and Greek from Saint Louis University and entered West Baden College inIndiana. There, he began theological studies, eventually graduating in 1957 with alicentiate from Loyola University Chicago in Illinois. He was ordained a priest on June 13,1956, and did his tertianship at St. Stanislaus Tertianship in Cleveland from 1957 to 1958. He professed final vows on February 2, 1961.
Ted taught classics at Milford Novitiate and Colombiere College in Clarkston, Mich., from 1958 to 1962. He earned a PhD in linguistics from GeorgetownUniversity, in Washington, D.C., in June 1966, and then went to South Korea as a Fulbrightlecturer in linguistics. Ted taught at Sogang University from September 1966 to January 1967. He also taught at the University of Detroit from 1967 to 1974, and served as dean ofthe university's Graduate School from 1974 to 1977. He served as dean ofthe College of Arts and Sciences at John Carroll University in Cleveland, from 1977 to1982. He then served as president of St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, from 1982 to1992.
Ted's missionary journey to the Eastern Africa Province began in 1992, when he was sent toNyegezi Social Training Institute in Mwanza, Tanzania, where he taught journalism and computer sciences. In 1997, he became dean of studies at the institute, while continuingto teach. While he resided at Nyegezi, he celebrated Mass every Sunday at St. FrancisXavier Parish. Ted was very instrumental in assisting the Tanzania EpiscopalConference to upgrade the institute to become a Catholic university. His efforts bore fruit in 1998,when the institute acquired university status and became Saint Augustine University ofTanzania (SAUT).
From 2001 to 2004, Ted served as the university's deputy vice-chancellor for academic affairs, while continuing to serve as dean of studies. In 2005, he became associate professor and lecturer in public relations and advertising. Ted retired from SAUT in February 2010, and moved to the Loyola High School community in Dar es Salaam, where heserved as acting superior until October 2014. In addition, he served as province national secretary for theApostleship of Prayer until February 2016, when, due to declining health, he was brought toPedro Arrupe Community in Karen-Nairobi for medical care until his death.
Ted devoted most of his life to teaching. He lived his life as a Jesuit with great dedicationand simplicity. During the last days of his life, he looked back with a greatsense of fulfillment. In one of his final reflections, he said, "It is nice to be a young Jesuit, it is rewarding to bea middle-aged Jesuit, and it is pleasurable, at least if you are careful to prepare for it, to bean elderly Jesuit." He lived simply and was always ready to serve others.
Father Ed Sthokal, SJ, had never considered becoming a retreat director; he never even specifically trained for it. The plan for the young Jesuit was to teach English literature, perhaps go on to run a university department in the field. So how did he end up spending 58 years as a retreat director at Demontreville Retreat House in Lake Elmo, Minnesota?