Jesuit Father Theodore J. Rynes died on May 29, 2015, at Santa Clara University in California. He was 83 years old.
Fr. Rynes was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Theodore Rynes and Ruth Kleffner Rynes. He attended Creighton Prep School and entered the Jesuit novitiate at Florissant, Missouri, on August 8, 1949. He received his A.B. and M.A. in English from Saint Louis University and taught English at Campion Prep in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, before beginning theology studies at St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s, Kansas. He was ordained a priest at the Jesuit Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee on June 12, 1962, and pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit on August 15, 1965.
Fr. Rynes went to California in 1964 for graduate studies in English at the University of California, Berkeley. He completed a dissertation on mutual influences on the satiric method of Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, and received his Ph.D. in 1973. In 1970 he began a long association as a professor of English at Santa Clara University, teaching a variety of classes in addition to his specialty of 18th-century British literature. An extraordinarily generous teacher, Fr. Rynes became a significant mentor and a loyal friend to his many students, appreciating them as God’s great gifts to him.
He is survived by his sister, Marilyn Giannattasio; his brother, Donald Rynes and his wife, Jean; and nieces and nephews.