NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Holy Cross Father John Francis Kurtzke Jr. died at Holy Cross House Feb. 28. He was 61.
Born March 28, 1951, in Queens, N.Y., he was the eldest of eight children of Dr. John and Margaret (Nevin) Kurtzke. He graduated from Gonzaga High School, Washington, D.C., in 1969.
Father Kurtzke graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1973; a master’s degree of philosophy and a candidate in philosophy from UCLA in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from UCLA in 1978. He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1979.
Father Kurtzke made his first profession of vows in 1980. He earned his M.Div. in theology from Notre Dame in 1984 and served as adjunct assistant professor of mathematics. He made his final profession in 1984, and was ordained in 1985.
Father Kurtzke was associate professor of mathematics at the University of Portland from 1985-2004 and was also chairman of the mathematics department for six years.
He was on sabbatical from 1993-‘94 and served as a visiting associate professor in the department of mathematics at Notre Dame, after which he returned to Portland. After treatment for a cerebral hemorrhage at Mayo Clinic in November of 2004, he moved to Holy Cross House and worked as a clerk in the Notre Dame Library. Father Kurtzke was assigned to Fatima House in 2006 and moved back to Holy Cross House in 2010.
He was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia. He is survived by his parents Dr. John and Margaret Kurtzke; sisters, Catherine (Steven) Brown, Joan (Phillip) Brennan, Elizabeth (Keith) Siebert, Christine (Paul) Hughes; brothers: Dr. Robert (Leala) Kurtzke and James (Kate) Kurtzke; and several nieces and nephews.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.