Gill, Joseph C.Died
Jesuit Father Joseph C. Gill died on Dec. 9, 2012, at St. Camillus in Wauwatosa, Wis. He was 86 years old, a Jesuit for 66 years, and a priest for 53 years.
Born in Madison, Wisc. on July 15, 1926, Fr. Gill attended grade school and high school in Madison. After two years at Marquette University, he entered the Society at Florissant, Mo., on Aug. 18, 1946. He completed the usual Jesuit course of studies at St. Stanislaus Seminary, St. Louis University and St. Mary’s College. Fr. Gill was ordained in Gesu Church, Milwaukee, on June 16, 1959. After completing tertianship in Decatur, Ill., he pronounced his final vows at St. Francis Mission on Feb. 2, 1964.
Almost all of Fr. Gill’s years of active ministry were spent at St. Francis Mission in South Dakota in the service of the Lakota people on the Rosebud Reservation. He did his regency there, returned to St. Francis immediately after tertianship, and — apart from three years as pastor of St. Isaac Jogues in Rapid City — served on the Rosebud until he moved to St. Camillus in 2003, after 42 years of ministry at St. Francis.
Fr. Gill ministered as a reservation pastor, helped launch the Mission radio station (KINI), but above all worked to provide better educational opportunities for the young people of the reservation. For 14 years he was principal and later superintendent of schools of St. Francis Indian School. In 1969 he completed a doctorate in secondary education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. He was instrumental in the planning and early years of the tribal college (now Sinte Gleska University) in Mission, S.D., and served as co-chair of its education department from 1990 to 1994.
Fr. Gill worked hard at challenging assignments. All his life he lived among poor people who suffered and struggled in a culture of poverty. The last years of his life at St. Camillus were equally challenging as his health and especially his memory failed. In the months before his death he was surely consoled to have his blood brother and fellow Jesuit Brother Ed Gill with him at St. Camillus.