Jesuit Father Lorenzo “Larry” J. Palafox passed away on November 28, 2016, at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 80 and had been a Jesuit for 62 years.
Fr. Palafox was born in San Francisco on January 8, 1936. He graduated from St. Ignatius High School in 1954 and entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Los Gatos in August of that year. His studies took him from Los Gatos (spiritual formation, Latin, and Greek) to Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington (philosophy), to Alma College (theology), and then to the Philippines (spirituality), with a three-year break for teaching English and geometry at Bellarmine Prep in San Jose. In 1967 he was ordained to the priesthood in St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco, where he had served daily Mass as a high school student.
Upon completion of training, he taught for a year at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and, at the height of the Vietnam War, embarked on a 20-year ministry as a U.S. Navy chaplain. Assignments took him to a variety of vessels and bases in Europe, Asia and the United States. He retired from Camp Pendleton in 1990 with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Following his ministry to military personnel, Fr. Palafox was assigned to Jesuit High School in Sacramento as community treasurer and pastoral minister. “Father P,” as he was known, was chaplain to the baseball teams and prefect of the study hall, and he remained close to alumni from his decade and a half of service. He retired to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos in 2007.
He is survived by cousin, Roberta Ruiz Hoffman of Walnut Creek, and many other relatives.