Jesuit Father Thomas F. Healy died on January 8, 2015, at the Jesuit Infirmary in Spokane, Washington. He was 86. A dedicated high school administrator and parish priest, Fr. Healy drew people toward God by his clear convictions, infectious smile and joy of life. Whether in an academic setting, church liturgy or a potluck dinner, one knew that he was both a man of God and a man for others, especially those in need of kindness and hope.
The eldest of three siblings, Thomas Francis Healy was born in Butte, Montana, on March 31, 1928, to Francis D. and Margaret Ann (Nolan) Healy. Upon graduation from Gonzaga High School in 1946, Fr. Healy entered the Army and served in Japan as a pharmacy aide. His interest in medicine led to a Bachelor of Science degree from Gonzaga University in 1951 and one year at Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago. Fr. Healy’s interest in medicine was trumped by the call to religious life and priesthood. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon, in August 1953 and followed the regular course of studies and training. Fr. Healy was ordained a priest on June 12, 1965, in Spokane.
Showing great skill in high school teaching and administration, Fr. Healy was assigned to Jesuit High School in Portland for six years (1966-72) and then to Seattle Preparatory for 20 years. In this latter posting, he and other Jesuits and lay colleagues created and implemented the Matteo Ricci Program, an innovative and accelerated high school and college program for advanced students.
Ready for a new and different challenge, Fr. Healy transferred to Missoula, Montana, and immersed himself in the parish world at St. Francis Xavier Church. He served as the superior of the Jesuit community and as a parish priest; one of the key programs he started was the Missoula chapter of Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (SEEL), a nine-month program of prayer and reflection calling people into a deeper relationship with God and pushing them to share their lives and gifts to further God’s kingdom. This program continues today and is run by lay colleagues of the Jesuits.
Fr. Healy is survived by his brother Con (Virginia) Healy and his sister Margie Healy. He also leaves a nephew Timothy (Erin) Healy, a grandnephew (Timothy Healy, Jr.) and his brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province. He will be deeply missed by his colleagues, friends, former students and parishioners.