The Saint Ignatius High School community mourns the loss of Rev. Howard Gray, S.J. ’48, who passed away on May 7, 2018, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan.
Fr. Gray had a distinguished career in Jesuit education, serving as teacher, professor and university administrator for decades. Since July 2017 he had been at the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.
After graduating from Saint Ignatius High School in 1948, Fr. Gray entered the Jesuit community. During his Jesuit formation, he earned advanced degrees in philosophy, Latin, Theology and English. Over the years his responsibilities included a number of leadership positions – director of formation, rector, professor and dean of the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts; provincial superior of the Jesuit Detroit Province; vice president of the Conference of Major Superiors; consultant to the Jesuit provinces in East Asia; and director of the USA Tertianship.
In 1996, Fr. Gray was named a Fellow of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College and became the first director of Boston College’s Center for Ignatian Spirituality. He served on the boards of Georgetown University, University of Detroit-Mercy, Fairfield University, Loyola University of New Orleans, Boston College High School, Saint Ignatius High School, the National Catholic Reporter, Walsh Jesuit High School, Weston Jesuit School of Theology and the Jesuit Retreat House in Cleveland. He also worked in mission education at more than ten colleges in the United States, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Recognizing his outstanding career achievements, Fr. Gray received the Honorable John V. Corrigan ’38 Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007 for distinguishing himself in his career and exemplifying what it means to be a "Man for Others."
To give an idea of the kind of person Fr. Gray was, consider these words of his from a 2003 Xavier University alumni magazine. “I hear frequently from alumni who say that today’s Jesuit education isn’t the same as that which they experienced. Whenever I hear this complaint, I reply, 'If it’s Jesuit education, it should change.' It should never be just the repetition of what has been said before. Because we are finding God in all things, we give God the freedom to reveal through all kinds of new realities like mass media, like emerging cultures, like a new generation of students. To freeze one period of history and to claim that this is the tradition we should maintain is wrong. In some ways, that’s the nadir of Jesuit educational process.”
With a strong dedication to Jesuit education, Fr. Gray will be remembered for the many lives he impacted through his service, teaching and travels.
Gesu Parish and John Carroll University will host the following memorial events on Saturday, May 12, to celebrate the life of Fr. Gray:
Mass of Christian Burial
Visitation at 9:00 a.m.
2470 Miramar Blvd.
University Heights, OH 44118
Reception Following Mass
John Carroll University
Muldoon Atrium in the Dolan Center for Science and Technology
1 John Carroll Blvd.
University Heights, OH 44118
All are welcome to attend.