Fr. Jim Meehan, SJ, died May 29, 2016 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center In- firmary in Los Gatos, CA. A gifted educator, compassionate counselor and priest, voracious reader and cultural trend spotter: these descriptors barely scratch the surface of this man of God who shared his life with many.
One of two brothers, James Nealen Meehan, was born on March 3, 1929, in Seattle to Stanley J. and Harriet L. (Dreaney) Meehan. Tragically, Fr. Meehan's mother died shortly after his birth; he nonetheless experienced a devout and loving home with his dad and stepmother Irene. He attended St. George's Grade School and graduated from Seattle Preparatory in 1946; inspired by the example of the Jesuits who taught him he entered the Novitiate at Sheridan, OR on July 30, 1946.
Following the regular course of Jesuit formation studies and teaching experiences, Fr. Meehan was ordained a priest on June 13, 1959, in Spokane.Having completed his priestly formation Fr. Meehan moved into the rapidly changing world of the 1960's to pursue studies in Sociology. He completed a M.A. degree at Fordham University in 1962 and a doctorate in 1971 from U.C. Berkeley. While working on his doctorate Fr. Meehan also taught courses in Sociology at Gonzaga University. In 1973 he was awarded the "Outstanding Teacher Award" by the alumni of Gonzaga; that same year he took a leave from G.U. to be the Assistant for Education to the Jesuit Provincial of the Oregon Province. He became President of Jesuit High School in Portland from 1977-1980 and returned again to Gonzaga in 1981 to continue teaching in the Sociology Department and provide support for University Ministry. From 1991-2001, Fr. Meehan served as Pastor at various churches in Washington and Montana until his return to Gonzaga as Chaplain and Search Coordinator in University Ministry from 2001 to 2006. Not content to retire quietly, Fr. Meehan served as chaplain to the Spokane Catholic Urban Native American Community from 2008 to 2014.
Fr. Meehan is survived by his sister-in-law Rhonda Meehan, his niece Meagan Meehan, and numerous cousins. He was preceded in death by his brother Tim Meehan. He will be deeply missed by his many friends, former students, colleagues, and brother Jesuits of the Oregon Province.
A vigil service will be held Tuesday, June 7, at 7:00pm in the Jesuit House Chapel, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am, Wednesday, June 8, also at the Jesuit House Chapel. The interment will be at 1:30pm, Wednesday, June 8, at Mt. St. Michaels Cemetery. Memorials in honor of Fr. Meehan may be sent to the Senior Jesuit Fund, Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, Ore., 97286, or the charity of the donor's choice.