Jesuit Brother John J. Sebian died on the Feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Oct. 31, 2016, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 90 years old.
Br. Sebian was born on Sept. 27, 1926, in Painesville, Ohio. In 1945, Br. Sebian graduated from Cathedral Latin High School in Cleveland. After six months of postulancy, Br. Sebian formally entered the Jesuit novitiate at Milford on Feb. 1, 1946 in Milford, Ohio. He took final vows on Feb. 2, 1957.
After novitiate and First Vows, Br. Sebian was a gardener and worked in the retreat house at Milford Novitiate (1948-1949). For one year he was the mailman at West Baden College in West Baden Springs, Indiana, before moving to St. Stanislaus Tertianship (now Jesuit Retreat House) in Parma, Ohio. There he spent ten years he as chauffeur, gardener, and head of the wine room (1950-1959). In 1959, Br. Sebian returned to West Baden College where he was an assistant gardener and helped to maintain the grounds, even the golf course (1959-1963). He then spent one year (1963-1964) as the assistant gardener at John Carroll University.
In the mid-1960s, the Detroit Province answered the call for more secondary schools and St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio and Walsh Jesuit High School in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, were built. [Note: St. John’s College opened in 1898 and closed in 1936 during the depression. The current St. John’s Jesuit High School is the reestablishment of St. John’s College.]
Br. Sebian was asked to go to Toledo and make the marshy farmland into athletic fields and landscaped grounds. Br. Sebian spent 44 years at St. John’s as the gardener and horticulturist. St. John’s needed more, so Br. Sebian was also the head mechanic (1965-1969), the moderator of the student radio club (1966-1969), and the head boilerman and electrician (1969-2008).
In 2008 Br. Sebian moved to Colombiere Center where he helped in the maintenance department and performed community service until his health declined.