Father William F. Breault, SJ, artist, author, archivist, and teacher, died June 29 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 88.
Fr. Breault was born in Saratoga Springs, NY, on December 17, 1926. While in his teens, his family moved to Inglewood, Calif. His high school education was interrupted by a stint in the Army Air Corps (1945-46); he returned for his diploma and attended evening college while supporting himself at his own business, painting parking lots. He entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos on August 14, 1949.
His Jesuit studies took him to Gonzaga University for degrees in English and philosophy and to Alma College, Los Gatos, for theology. He was ordained a priest in San Francisco on June 8, 1962. He also earned degrees in drama (MA, San Francisco State University) and art (BA, Notre Dame de Namur University, MA, Chico State University).
Fr. Breault’s ministry was varied. He was a high school teacher at Loyola High School, Los Angeles (1956-59), St. Ignatius College Prep, San Francisco (1964-68), and Jesuit High School, Sacramento, where he was artist in residence (1969-2011). In addition to classroom teaching, he was active in high school drama as coach, scenic designer, and director. Fr. Breault was active in producing religious programs for parish use and for television, both on the local and national levels. He wrote and recorded a successful series of audio tape meditations, and wrote books of meditations and prayers, as well as historical works and fiction. He had a keen interest in history and wrote accounts of the early Jesuit missionaries of North America and works on California history. For many years he served as the archivist for the Diocese of Sacramento.
He was an acclaimed artist who produced a steady stream of watercolors, prints, and metal sculptures. His work in gallery showings garnered praise for their “indisputable craftsmanship and original inspiration.” He taught and gave workshops in Northern California, Hawaii, and elsewhere.
Fr. Breault’s survivors include a brother, James, two sisters, Alice Breault of Sacramento and Jane Hogg of Roseville, nephew, Br. Michael Breault, SJ, and many other nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers Jean and Earl.
A memorial Mass will be held at Jesuit High School, Sacramento, in the near future.
Donations in memory of Fr. Breault may be made by mail to the California Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or through our secure website, www.jesuitscalifornia.org/donation.