Jesuit Father Tom Royce died Dec. 6, at the Jesuit Infirmary in Spokane. The university professor, administrator, pastor, priest, and loyal Mariners baseball fan was 87.
The fourth of five siblings, Thomas Reilly Royce was born in Spokane, Wash., on March 5, 1926, to James Emmett and Lucy Frances (Reilly) Royce. He entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan in September 1943. He was ordained a priest on June 16, 1956, in Spokane. After ordination, Father Royce completed a doctorate in philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome. He had a long teaching and administrative career at Gonzaga University, assisting both lay students and young Jesuits preparing for priesthood.
In 1980, Father Royce was appointed the 10th Provincial of the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, s ministry he carried out for the next six years. He started the Jesuit Infirmary, the Regis Community (older Jesuits living among the younger Jesuits), and regularly visited the many works that were sponsored by the Jesuits. Having completed his six-year term as provincial and after a brief sabbatical, he was assigned to parish ministry: five years as pastor of St. Aloysius in Spokane, and later as assistant pastor at St. Luke in Woodburn, St. Joseph’s in Yakima, Wash., and lastly at St. Ignatius in Portland.
Father Royce was the last of his siblings to pass away; he was preceded in death by his older sister Marj DeWeese, and brothers Jesuit Father Jim Royce, Bill Royce, and John Royce. He is survived by seven nephews and nieces, 10 grand-nephews and grand-nieces, many cousins, and his brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.
A vigil service will be held at 4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 12, at the Jesuit House Chapel on the Gonzaga University campus. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 13, at St. Aloysius Church. Burial will follow at the Oregon Province Cemetery. Contributions in honor of Father Tom Royce, SJ, may be sent to The Senior Fund, c/o The Oregon Province Society of Jesus (PO Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286) and/or to Hospice of Spokane (PO Box 2215, Spokane, WA 99210).