Jesuit Father Thomas F. Gleeson, age 78, died at the Jesuit Center, Wernersville, PA on Nov. 7, 2014. He was a Jesuit for 56 years and a priest for 46 years.
Fr. Gleeson, son of John J. Gleeson and Geraldine A. Goddard, was born on July 9, 1936 in Atchison, Kansas. Following his graduation from Gonzaga High School, Washington, D.C. in 1954 and Georgetown University in 1958, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, he entered the Society of Jesus at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues, Wernersville, Pennsylvania, on Aug. 14, 1958.
After pronouncing his First Vows on Aug. 15, 1960, he pursued studies for two years in Philosophy at Loyola Seminary, Shrub Oak, New York, from which he received a Licentiate in Philosophy degree in 1962. From 1962 to 1965, Fr. Gleeson, as a Jesuit scholastic, taught physics at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, Philadelphia, before being sent to study theology from 1965 to 1968 at Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland, where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree and was ordained to the priesthood by Lawrence Cardinal Sheehan, Archbishop of Baltimore, on June 15, 1968.
Fr. Gleeson completed his tertianship at the Novitiate of St. Isaac Jogues, Wernersville, in 1976 and made his final profession in the Society of Jesus at St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia on Jan. 27, 1977. Following ordination, Father Gleeson attended Columbia University, New York, from 1968 to 1970, where, having earned a Master of Arts degree in Secondary School Administration in 1967, he received a Doctor of Education degree in the Philosophy of Education in 1973. He was then sent to St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia as principal and teacher of religion, education and physics (1970-1974), which was followed by an assignment as dean and professor of education in the evening school (1974-1978) at St. Joseph’s University.
After a sabbatical year at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Fr. Gleeson went to the Maryland Province Curia, Baltimore, as Provincial Assistant for Higher Education from 1979 to 1981. He then returned to St. Joseph’s University to serve as rector of the Jesuit Community and teacher in and chair of the Department of Education until 1986, when he was assigned President of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkley, California, an office he held until 1995. Fr. Gleeson was transferred in 1995 to Washington, D.C. as Secretary for Financial Resources (1995-2003) and Secretary for Formation (1996-1997) at the Jesuit Conference, and superior at Leonard Neale House (1996-1999). He then became a retreat director at Loyola Retreat House, Faulkner, Maryland (1999-2003) before returning to St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, for a year as assistant rector.
In 2004, Fr. Gleeson was appointed rector of the Jesuit Center, Wernersville, an office he held until 2009 when he was again assigned to St. Joseph’s University as minister of the Jesuit Community. After returning to the Jesuit Center, Wernersville, for a sabbatical year (2011-2012), he continued to serve there as an associate for development (2012-2013) and community services (2013-2014) until his death.