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April 2016

James Reites, S.J.

James Reites, S.J.

Santa Clara University Mourns the Loss of Jim Reites, S.J.

Tireless Jesuit, affectionately known as "Papa" to many students, was active in many corners of campus.

SCU President Michael Engh, S.J., shared news of the unexpected loss of a beloved colleague

Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. sent the following e-mail to the Santa Clara University campus community the evening of April 16, 2016:


Dear Members of the University Community,

It is with profound sadness that I share that Jim Reites, S.J. passed away unexpectedly in his sleep Friday night.

Fr. Reites, who was 78 years old, was a beloved member of many, varied communities at Santa Clara University for the past 41 years. He served on the faculty of the Department of Religious Studies where he was associate professor and former department chair, and helped found the Xavier Residential Learning Community, where he served as faculty director. For more than 10 years, Fr. Reites led various student immersions to Mexico and El Salvador. Additionally, he was an associate professor in the School of Engineering, where he was a tireless and stalwart adviser to the University's three teams of competitors in the national Solar Decathlon. Most recently, he had served as adviser to students in the Tiny House competition.

His work on the Solar Decathlon was honored in an NBC story segment, “Bay Area Proud,” which chronicled his path to becoming a Jesuit and his lifelong twin loves of theology and science.

His joyful and active presence will be greatly missed at the Jesuit community, where he has lived for the four decades while at SCU.

Born in New Orleans, Fr. Reites studied engineering, math, vocal and choral music, as well as classics, humanities, philosophy and theology. He earned degrees from Loyola University of Los Angeles, Immaculate Heart College, Santa Clara University and St. Louis University. He earned his STL in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and completed his STD at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and served on the Board of Trustees for Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose.

Information about a funeral Mass and memorial service will be shared as soon as details are arranged. Fr. Reites is survived by two sisters Jean Ann Huff, of Garden Grove, Calif., and Judy Moser of Alta Loma, Calif.

Notes of condolence may be sent to:

Jesuit Community
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053

Fr. Reites will be missed by countless students, alumni, colleagues and others whose lives he touched with his passion and enthusiasm. We pray for the repose of his soul.


Michael E. Engh, S.J.


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SCU is mourning the unexpected loss of James Reites, S.J.