Oldest Living US Jesuit Dies at 102

Jesuit Father Lothar L. NurnbergerJesuit Father Lothar L. Nurnberger, 102, a teacher and Jesuit for 80 years, died on Nov. 1 in Clarkston, Mich. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living Jesuit in the United States.

Fr. Nurnberger’s relationship with the Jesuits dated back to 1923, when he convinced his parents to allow him to attend the Jesuit-run Loyola Academy in Chicago (now located in Wilmette, Ill.). After graduating from Loyola Academy in 1927, he attended Loyola University Chicago where he earned a bachelor’s in history with a minor in philosophy and Latin.

After earning his degree, Fr. Nurnberger spent a year working with the Mars Candy Company as a salesman before joining the Society of Jesus. “During my year at Mars I came to realize that I belonged in the Jesuits. My mother and father were satisfied with my decision because they felt it would help me behave better,” Fr. Nurnberger said a few months prior to his passing.

Fr. Nurnberger began his teaching career in 1937 and taught at various high schools around the Midwest until 1974, including St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati and the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. He also served as a professor of philosophy at West Baden College in West Baden, Ind., and Loyola University Chicago. Fr. Nurnberger spent his later years studying and completing research in Champaign, Ill., before retiring to the Colombiere Center for Jesuits in Clarkston, Mich., in 2007.

Always focused on the future, Fr. Nurnberger said, “Life is a gift from God. As Jesuits, we are responsible for building a culture of life.”

Read more about Fr. Nurnberger’s long life of service at the Chicago-Detroit Province website.

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