Henry C. Kuhn
Br. Henry C. Kuhn, SJ
Hank was practical, down-to-earth, and honest. He always told the truth and "told it like it was." This attitude helped others to quickly trust and respect him.
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Henry C. Kuhn

January 6, 2020 — Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of our brother, Br. Henry C. Kuhn, SJ, who died at 3:47 a.m. (EST) on January 5, 2020, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 85 years old. May he rest in peace.

Hank was born on February 19, 1934 in Pittsburgh. After a six-month postulancy, Hank entered the former Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus on August 13, 1955 at Milford, Ohio. He took final vows on August 15, 1965 in Cleveland.

Before entering the Society, Hank was a salesman for the Kuhn Poultry Company and loved riding his motorcycle. While in the Society, he earned a diploma in horticulture from the National Landscape Institute of Los Angeles (1958), as well as several certificates in basic electronics engineering from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also spent one semester at the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, studying automobile design.

After his novitiate, Hank was a Junior Brother and an assistant gardener at Milford (1957-1960). He then was the superintendent of grounds at Colombiere Center (1960-1964) and St. Stanislaus House of Retreats (now named "Jesuit Retreat Center") in Parma (1964-1965 and 1966-1970). Hank then returned to Colombiere as minister (1970-1978) before becoming the assistant superintendent (1978-1979) and superintendent of grounds at Walsh Jesuit High School (1980-1989).

After a sabbatical, Hank turned his attention from buildings and grounds to full-time care of his Jesuit brethren. He became the minister and socius to the novice director at Loyola House Jesuit Novitiate in Berkley, Michigan (1990-1997) before becoming minister at Lansing-Reilly Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy (1997-2009). After a sabbatical, Hank moved to Colombiere Center and performed community service (2010-2019).

Although Hank had a great desire to serve in the missions and even spent a year in the Patna Mission studying Hindi in Bettiah, India (1965-1966), his gifts and temperament were better suited for use in the former Detroit Province.

Hank worked at Colombiere before it was completed. He helped clear the fields of (large) rocks and planted pine trees and gardens on the grounds. While he was at Colombiere, he was responsible for negotiating a deal (originally $1 per year) between the sheriff department and Colombiere. The sheriffs wanted a convenient office location and Hank wanted them on the grounds to help keep Colombiere safe (as the sheriffs would drive around the campus/grounds). Sixty years later, the Springfield Township sheriff department still has a substation at Colombiere.

In addition to horticulture, Hank was willing to do whatever was needed. At Walsh, in addition to being superintendent of grounds, Hank was in charge of the school buses and daily drove a bus. No matter where Hank was missioned, he always cared about the physical plant and necessary details but cared more about the people he dealt with. When he was minister at the Novitiate, Hank provided a great example of who a Jesuit Brother is—especially how they care for others. An example of this is how Hank endeared the novices to him through his weekly purchase of doughnuts.

Hank was practical, down-to-earth, and honest. He always told the truth and "told it like it was." This attitude helped others to quickly trust and respect him. He could deal well with whoever he encountered: novices, workmen, contractors, salesmen, suppliers, etc. He would befriend workmen at whatever institution he was at. This meant that he often got immediate help to solve problems. It also endeared him to the staff and community at Colombiere.

Hank was devoted to his family—both his birth family and his Jesuit family. Hank also enjoyed eating and enjoyed seeking out "dives" that had great food.


Friday, January 10, 2020
4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Prayer Service 7:00 p.m.
Colombiere Center
9075 Big Lake Road
Clarkston, MI 48346-1015


Saturday, January 11, 2020
10:45 a.m.
Colombiere Center
9075 Big Lake Road
Clarkston, MI 48346-1015

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January 11, 202012:18 PM
My parents were old friends of Br. Hank's parents and brothers and sisters. My brother and I knew "Henry" when we were youngsters, but of course didn't see him much as we got older. I remember well the celebration at his parents' house when he was leaving for India. It's sad to me that our old friends are passing away, but knowing that Br. Hank is with the Lord is cause for celebration. May perpetual light shine upon him. Rest in peace. Carol Negley (last of Moessinger family who were friends of Br. Hank's parents) – Carol Negley

January 11, 20202:43 PM
I knew Brother Kuhn as 'Uncle Henry'. Even though I was very young at the time I remember when he came home from India and showed us a picture of him on an Elephant. To this day I still remember that picture. I have always been so proud to have him as my uncle and never hesitate to brag about my uncle that is a Jesuit. In fact my husband and I made sure we we saw the Jesuit College (Jezuitská kolej) when we were visiting Kutna Hora in the Czech Republic. My uncle was so good to all of his nieces and nephews and I know we are all going to miss him. As I got older and moved away from Pittsburgh I didn't see my uncle very much but he was always in my thoughts and prayers. It was always a joy to see him if we happened to be visiting home at the same time. I will miss you Uncle Henry. – Karen Swengross

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