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In Memoriam

Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. James J. King, SJ, who died on January 30, 2024 at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwautosa, Wisconsin. He was 94 years old. May he rest in peace.

Jim is proceeded in death by his brother, William F. King, SJ, and his sister, Sr. Kathleen King, H.M. (formerly Sr. M. Campion). He is survived by his sister, Margaret Reardon.

Jim was born on August 21, 1929 in Akron, Ohio. Before entering the Society, he graduated from Campion High School in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and studied at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 8, 1950 at the Jesuit novitiate in Milford, Ohio. He became a member of the Detroit Province when it was established in 1955. He was ordained a priest on June 13, 1963 at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan, and pronounced final vows on April 30, 1977 at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.

While in the Society, Jim earned a bachelor’s degree in English (1954), a master’s degree in theology (1964), and a master’s degree in education (1963) from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

During regency, Jim taught English and Latin at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio (1957-1960). After ordination, Jim spent almost 45 years at Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio (1965-1981; 1986-2014). Jim spent five years away from Walsh Jesuit when he was the Detroit Province vocation director (1981-1986).

For more than four decades at Walsh Jesuit, Jim was a theology teacher and a student counselor. In addition, he also was director of public relations (1967-1969), director of the Alumni Association (1970-1975), moderator of the Alumni Association (1987-1995), and the alumni chaplain (2005-2014). In 2014, Jim was missioned to St. Camillus Jesuit Community to pray for the Church and the Society.

Jim was a prayerful and devoted priest. He loved being a Jesuit and engaging people — especially sacramentally. He was a gifted high school teacher and student counselor. Everyone who encountered Jim found him engaging, generous, jovial, and enthusiastic. He truly was concerned about and cared for everyone. This care and concern drove him to help students and faculty/staff at Walsh Jesuit become aware of — and do something for — the poor, the oppressed, and those on the margins. This led Jim to help co-found and moderate the student justice league and to often host service opportunities/trips to places such as: the Good Samaritan Food Shelter of Akron; the Catholic Worker House; and Appalachia. As Jim said of his years at Walsh Jesuit: “I loved it all, especially teaching, and supporting students in their desire to serve others.” His truly was a “faith that does justice.”

Jim’s heart was focused on Jesus and Walsh Jesuit High School. Jim LOVED Walsh Jesuit and the people associated with the school. He grew up by the [future] location of Walsh Jesuit and, in 1965, helped open the school. During his 40+ years ministering at Walsh Jesuit, Jim found Christ in each person he encountered — the students, parents, teachers, staff, and alumni. He also helped these people to recognize Jesus in themselves, in others, and [most importantly] in the Eucharist. A common utterance from Jim was “Praise the Lord!”

Fr. George Winzenburg, SJ, has this to say about Jim:

Jim was warm, sensitive, and outgoing. He met people easily and enjoyed stimulating conversations. He loved his family dearly and was adored by his nephews and nieces. For many years, he spoke by phone every evening with his sister, Kathleen, a Handmaid of Mary. He dedicated his life to secondary education. He was assigned to Walsh Jesuit High School when it opened in 1965 and was named a founding father. He taught at Walsh Jesuit for 43 years and he loved teaching theology. He served as alumni director for several years and worked closely with campus ministry on Kairos retreats, Labre, and counseling. On Walsh Jesuit’s 25th anniversary, he and hundreds of alumni built a habitat house. He co-founded the Justice League. He took students on mission trips to the Dominica Republic, Honduras, and El Salvador for six or seven summers. His sabbaticals were in India, where he had a private meeting with Mother Teresa, and in East Africa, where he worked in an AIDS hospital. He was a pacificist. He protested for many years at the School of the Americas in Georgia. After he moved to St. Camillus Jesuit Community, he volunteered at a homeless shelter, Repairers of the Breach, and gave ISP retreats to the homeless. Looking back, he said his many years of teaching were enjoyable, exciting, and fun. One special memory was being vocation director of the Detroit Province when Karl Kiser applied for entrance to the Society.