Fr. Lothar L. Nurnberger, SJ
March 10, 1910, to
November 1, 2012
Fr. Lothar L. Nurnberger, SJ, professor and Jesuit for 80 years, died on Thursday, November 1, 2012, in Clarkston, Michigan. Born to parents Lothar and Anna Mabel (Burke) Nurnberger on March 16, 1910, he was raised in Chicago until the age of 22. At the time of his death, he was 102 years of age, the oldest living Jesuit in the US. “Fr. Nurnberger was a gift from God to the Society of Jesus,” explained a friend in an online tribute. “He is survived by numerous extended family members.
In a recent article in the summer issue of Partners, Fr. Nurnberger explained that the beginning of his relationship with the Jesuits dated back to 1923, when he convinced his parents to allow him to attend the Jesuit-run Loyola Academy. After graduating from Loyola Academy in 1927, he attended Loyola University Chicago (1927-1931) where he earned a BA in history with a minor in philosophy and Latin. The Jesuits at Loyola Academy and Loyola University had such a strong impact on him as a young man that he decided to become one of them. Following his graduation from Loyola University and a year spent working with the Mars Candy Company as a salesman, Fr. Nurnberger joined the Milford Novitiate in Milford, Ohio. “During my year at Mars I came to realize that I belonged in the Jesuits. My mother and father were satisfied with my decision because they felt it would help me behave better,” Fr. Nurnberger explained in Partners. Throughout his ten years of formation, he earned various degrees including a MA in Classics (1935) from Xavier University, as well as a MA from the University of Toronto (1959).
Fr. Nurnberger began his teaching career in 1937 and continued to teach at various high schools around the Midwest until 1974 including St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, and the University of Detroit Jesuit High School. He served as a professor of philosophy (1949-1950) at West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana, and Loyola University Chicago (1955-1974). Fr. Nurnberger spent much of his life studying and completing research in Champaign, Illinois. In 2007, he retired to the Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan until his death.
As the oldest living Jesuit in the US, Fr. Nurnberger had high hopes for the future of the Society. “Life is a gift from God. As Jesuits, we are responsible for building a culture of life,” he expressed in Partners.
Br. Daniel McCullough, SJ, a longtime friend, remembers Fr. Nurnberger as a passionate man. “Our personal friendship grew and endured until he died. We were true friends and still are,” he explained.
Memorial gifts may be made to The Jesuits, 2050 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois 60614.
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