Father Naus loved people. He was a warm, charming person who laughed at himself as he made others laugh with him.
Jesuit Fr. John E. Naus died on September 22, 2013, in Milwaukee at Froedtert Hospital. He was 89 years old, a Jesuit for 71 years, and a priest for 58 years.
Born in Milwaukee on August 28, 1924, Fr. Naus attended Holy Cross Grade School and Marquette University High School in Milwaukee before entering the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Mo., on August 8, 1942. Father Naus had the usual Jesuit course of studies at St. Stanislaus, Saint Louis University, and St. Mary’s College. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1955. After tertianship in Decatur, Ill., Fr. Naus earned a doctoral degree in philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome. He professed his final vows on August 15, 1959.
Father Naus did regency at St. Louis University High School and, after graduate studies, taught philosophy to young Jesuits at Fusz Memorial in St. Louis from 1959 to 1963. In 1963, Fr. Naus was assigned to Marquette University in Milwaukee, where he spent the bulk of his years of active ministry. He taught philosophy for more than 40 years, specializing in the philosophy of humor. Along the way, he became a professional clown named Tumbleweed. Father Naus was renowned as a resident hall chaplain known to thousands of Marquette students. He also served as a special assistant to the president for nine years and, toward the end of his career, as a chaplain in the Alumni Memorial Union. A stroke finally forced Fr. Naus to move to the St. Camillus Jesuit Community, but he remained active in various ways on the Marquette University campus almost until his death.
Father Naus loved people, especially young people. He was a warm, charming person who laughed at himself as he made others laugh with him. He was the definition of an always approachable Catholic priest who helped literally thousands of college students through good times and bad.
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