The Rev. Thomas R. Royce, S.J., a priest of the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus who served for many years in the Yakima Diocese, died in Spokane this morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 87. The Vigil will be at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 12 at the Jesuit House Chapel on the campus of Gonzaga University. The Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Friday, December 13 at St. Aloysius Church near campus, with burial to follow that day at 1:30 p.m. at Mount St. Michael Cemetery.
Father Royce was born March 5, 1926 to James and Lucy (Riley) Royce in Spokane. He attended school at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School and Gonzaga Prep High School, then entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, Oregon in 1943. His studies took him to Gonzaga University and Mount St. Michael’s in Spokane, Alma College in Los Gatos, California, and the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained to the priestood on June 16, 1956 at St. Aloysius in Spokane by Bishop Bernard Topel.
Father Royce held several assignments within the Society of Jesus, including Provincial of the Oregon Province from 1980 to 1986. He taught at Marquette High School in Yakima as a Jesuit Scholastic from 1950 to 1953, and was a parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Yakima from 1995 to 2005. Among many personal interests, he loved baseball, and was a long-suffering fan of the Seattle Mariners.
A beautiful tribute to Fr. Royce’s ministry can be found on the website of the Oregon Province by clicking here: A Tribute to the Life and Work of Tom Royce, SJ
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace.