Class Notes | Obituaries
Showing obituaries submitted in the last year by graduates in 1979
Margaret Saal Blatner, MBA ’79, J.D. ’80 passed away in January 2013 after a short illness.
Kathy Clements Hunt ’79, age 56, of Clovis, California, died in an auto accident caused by inclement weather on November 23, 2013, while traveling home with her husband Tom ’79 from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) World Show in Oklahoma City. Kathy is survived by her husband, Tom, and son, Miles ’12, J.D. ’15. She was a loving wife and mother who took pride in all of their accomplishments and provided them the best life possible.
Kathy and Tom met while attending Santa Clara University. They have been married for 33 years. She was most proud of Miles, 23, who also received his undergraduate degree from Santa Clara and is currently enrolled in law school there. In addition to her love of her family, Kathy was an animal lover. She loved dogs and horses. She competed nationally with her AQHA registered horses. In 2009, she was the Adequan Select Pleasure Driving Champion with her horse, Sky's Moon Pie. There has been an outpouring of support for her family from Kathy's friends and fellow exhibitors in the horse industry, which demonstrates the impact she had on those who knew her.
Catholic theologian and professor Edward T. Oakes, S.J. M.Div. '79 died in St. Louis Dec. 6, prompting his colleagues to remember his work in Christology, his wit, and his lasting effect on students.
"Fr. Oakes was a unique scholar, largely because of his Jesuit background in Classics, where he was able to really do theology within the full richness and the full texture of the Western intellectual tradition," Fr. Thomas Baima, vice-rector for academic affairs at Mundelein Seminary, told CNA. "He was a very pleasant and gregarious personality. A little bit quirky, as scholars often are," the vice-rector continued. "I always thought him delightful. He had a great wit and was very interested in current events."
Fr. Oakes, who was elected president of the Academy of Catholic Theology in 2013, had taught at Mundelein Seminary near Chicago from 2002 until October 2013, when he entered hospice care at Jesuit Hall in St. Louis. He died of complications of pancreatic cancer, the Jesuits' Missouri Province said. The Kansas City, Mo. native was 65-years-old. Fr. Baima said Fr. Oakes was best known for the "extraordinary amount of work" he did on the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century who is widely considered to be an influence on the thought of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Fr. Oakes was involved in the ecumenical group Evangelicals and Catholics Together and was a major contributor to to the ecumenical journal "First Things."
He joined the Society of Jesus in 1966 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1979. He taught at New York University and Regis University in Denver. He had served as a scholar in residence at Cambridge University and taught English, theater and drama at St. Louis University High School. He held a doctorate in theology from Union Theological Seminary, a bachelor's and master's degree in philosophy from St. Louis University and a master of divinity in scripture from Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.
His books include "Pattern of Redemption: The Theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar" and "Infinity Dwindled to Infancy: A Catholic and Evangelical Christology." Before his death he was working on a project involving the theological debate about grace and nature, Fr. Baima said. The Academy of Catholic Theology remembered Fr. Oakes as "a deeply cultured man" who "enlivened everything of which he was a part by his penetrating intelligence and warm, friendly spirit."
The Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus said in a statement that Fr. Oakes was "a joyful man" who "loved studies and the intellectual life." Fr. Baima also remembered the priest's dedication as a teacher. He recalled that one of the last public events Fr. Oakes attended at Mundelein Seminary was an Oct. 5 celebration of his book "Infinity Dwindled to Infancy." "A number of his former students, including doctoral students, came to the event," the seminary vice-rector said. "We were particularly touched by the long-term affection that they maintained for all he had done for them." "He was a teacher who was completely there for his students. He was 'all on' when it came to being a teacher," Fr. Baima said.
The Academy of Catholic Theology asked for prayers for the soul of Fr. Oakes, adding "to say that Father Oakes will be sorely missed is a profound understatement."
Donna Jean Parsons M.A. ’79, June 19, 2013. She died at her home after a long battle with cancer, multiple myeloma. Donna was born in Dunsmuir to Art and Vera Parsons, the middle of 3 children. She attended local schools, graduating from DHS in 1961. Donna was active with cheerleading, Rainbow Girls, and academic clubs, making many life-long friends. Donna was accepted at UC Berkeley, which was as far from her small town experiences as she could get! She was grateful to all of her teachers, including Ramey Drake, Grace Harris, and Reva Coon, as well as her parents, for encouraging her academic achievements and instilling a drive for higher education. After graduating from Cal, Donna worked in the social welfare field in several northcoast and SF Bay Area counties, finishing up that part of her career as an adoptions social worker in Alameda County. By that time she had gotten her Masters at Santa Clara University and went out on her own as a psychotherapist. She loved that work, developing even more her passion and skill for helping children and families with a variety of problems. In 2005 Donna realized a dream of returning to Dunsmuir, when she, husband Jon Jeffers and son Eric Burger, bought and renovated the old Oak Tree Inn (Motel?) into what is now the Dunsmuir Lodge. She was the last of the siblings to return to Dunsmuir and was so happy she could spend her last years here. Sadly, although the number of her last years were defined by the cancer diagnosis in 2007, the quality was not. She bravely fought this disease, although she didn't consider herself brave; she just wanted to live as long and as well as she could. She continued her other passions for the piano and knitting and photography, helped nurture the success of the Lodge, and spent time with her family and friends. She was part of a support group for multiple myeloma patients, who drew comfort from each other. Her continued friendship with classmates of 1961 and adjacent years, helped to make the 50th reunion in 2011 very successful. Donna leaves behind her husband of 33 years, Jon Jeffers her son Eric Burger, siblings Carol (Dick Keiser) and Bill (Hazel) Parsons. She was a loved stepmother, grandmother, and great grandmother to Diana Jeffers Williams, Danielle Finley-Haley and Michael Haley, and an aunt to Sheryl Burger. Carol's stepchildren Lori Keiser Usher and Rick Keiser were very grateful for her love and support during their childhoods, and through the births of their children. Donna will be missed by many but our hope is that her kindness and generosity and humor will live on with all those who knew her.
Brigit Kathleen Whims '79, on June 1, 2014, closed her crystal blue eyes, never to to reopen them again in this life. She was surrounded by her family and friends and passed on peacefully at her home in Saratoga, Calif. She is survived by her husband Jim; children Maclane, Parker and Makena, as well as by her mother Agnes and brother Kevin. Born April 6th, 1957 to Bob and Agnes Mcwalters of San Francisco, Calif., Brigit attended Mercy high school and went to Santa Clara university on an academic scholarship. Her first job out of school was with Xerox Corporation and years later she became a stock broker at E.F. Hutton.
She lived a healthy lifestyle centered on spending time with close friends and family, and always getting to the gym. She loved to travel and did her best to never miss one of her boys' Bellarmine lacrosse games or her daughter's horse shows.
Albert A. Agresti, S.J. M.Div. ’79, ThM ’81 December 13, 2013 in Lebanon, N.H. Al was born in Boston, Mass., on Aug. 5th, 1949, the son of Michael and Evelyn Sera Agresti. The family home was in Quincy and Al attended local schools there, graduating from North Quincy High School. He studied history at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and when he received his B.A. degree, in 1971, he entered the novitiate of the New England Province, St. Andrew House, on Newbury Street in Boston. After first vows, in 1973, he did collegian studies at Boston College, earning an M.A. in philosophy. He spent a year as a regent, teaching English at the Cranwell School, Lenox, Mass., in 1974-75. From 1975 to 1979 he studied theology at JSTB, Berkeley, Calif., interrupting his studies there for 18 months of Clinical Pastoral Education at Bon Secours Hospital in Methuen, Mass. He was a campus minister at the University of San Francisco from 1979 to 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood at the College of the Holy Cross, in 1980. From 1981 to 1986 he studied counseling psychology at Ohio State. With his doctorate in hand, he taught psychology at several universities: Boston College, Loyola University Chicago, the University of San Francisco, and San Jose State University. He was associate dean at St. Louis University and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Creighton University. From 2005 to 2007, he engaged in retreat ministry, at Gloucester and then at Campion Center, including serving as director of the Renewal Center there. From 2007 to 2011, he was Catholic chaplain at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, in Lebanon, N.H. His administrative talents led to his being invited to become senior manager of operations for graduate medical education at the medical center, which is affiliated with Dartmouth Medical School. He belonged to a number of professional and scholarly associations. Quite recently, he received a diagnosis of a serious medical condition and he was making plans to step down from his position. Friends became concerned when he failed to keep appointments. He was found dead in his apartment on Friday, Dec.13. Al is survived by two brothers, Joseph Agresti (of Naples, Fla.) and Carmen Agresti (of Stoughton, Mass.); his nephews Jason, Paul, and Adam Agresti; two aunts, Enes Centofanti and Adela Contrada; and several cousins and grandnephews and grandnieces.