In Memoriam
Requiescat in Pace: Father Joseph Shirey, SJ

Father Joseph E. Shirey, SJ, entered into God’s peace December 22, 2016, at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, Calif. He was 100. Affectionately known as “Father Red Socks,” this gentle priest spent his ministerial career as a parish priest and hospital chaplain in the northwest and Alaska. The moniker “Red Socks” was his trademark adornment; Fr. Shirey felt that priests and religious who wore all black clothing lacked a “playful” or “joyful” spirit in their work; the red socks, sweater, etc., that he wore reminded him to bring God’s joy to others as well as himself.  

Born in Fostoria, Ohio, July 3, 1916, to Karl L. and Isabel M. (Reinhart) Shirey, Joseph Edward Shirey was the oldest of five siblings. He grew up in Roseburg, Ore., and attended the University of Oregon for three years. He entered the U.S. Army in 1939 and was on the verge of discharge when WWII commenced. He remained in uniform until the end of the war; one of his main duties was playing the saxophone in the Army band.

Following his military service Fr. Shirey sensed a call to priestly and religious life; he devoted a year to studying Latin prior to entering the Jesuit Novitiate (Sheridan, Ore.) in September 1946.  Fr. Shirey followed the regular course of studies and was ordained on June 16, 1956, at St. Aloysius Church in Spokane.  

The first quarter century of Fr. Shirey’s priestly service was dedicated to parish ministry; he served in Spokane, Seattle, Anchorage, Eagle River (Alaska), St. Ignatius (Mont.), and Missoula.  Ever the practical administrator, he saw that both the spiritual and temporal needs of the parishioners were well attended to. He cared that a life of prayer and service was balanced with time for recreation and joy. People of his parishes felt drawn to his warmth of personality and also were nourished in their spiritual life by his words and actions.

The second quarter century of service saw Fr. Shirey as a hospital chaplain to two facilities in Medford, Ore., the VA Medical Center and Providence Medical Center. His background as an Army veteran and Jesuit priest was well received by many patients and their families. At age 91 his health necessitated his retirement and a move to the Jesuit assisted-living center in Spokane. Even then he maintained a robust phone and paper correspondence with the many friends he made. At age 99, Fr. Shirey graciously moved to the Jesuit Infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif., to join his brother Jesuits in a ministry of prayer. A giant celebration was held there on his 100th birthday; family, friends, and a swing era band feted him.  

Fr. Shirey was preceded in death by his brother, Richard, and sisters, Mary Tucker and Rita Shirey. He is survived by his brother Clair Shirey (Eagle River, Alaska), several grand nieces and grand nephews, cousins, friends, and his brother Jesuits.  

A funeral Mass will be celebrated January 12, 10:00 a.m., in the Jesuit House Chapel at Gonzaga University. Inurnment will follow at Mt. St. Michaels Cemetery in Spokane. Donations in honor of Fr. Shirey may be sent to the Senior Fund, Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286. Gifts may also be made at www.jesuitswest.org/OREdonations on our secure donation site.





Recent News


December 6, 2018 — This Advent season, we ask Jesus to light the dark. We pray for that light to inflame us with brighter faith, hope and love.

November 24, 2018 — Most Revered Jaime Soto, Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, ordained Alex A. Llanera, SJ, as Catholic Priest at St. Ignatius Loyola Church, Sacramento.

November 27, 2018 — This year, U.S. and Canadian Jesuits were ordained to the diaconate at several different Masses in the United States, Canada, Rome, Paris and Cairo.

November 15, 2018 — Kenyan Jesuit Father Victor-Luke Odhiambo, 62, was murdered on Nov. 15 when unknown assailants attacked the Daniel Comboni Jesuit Residence in Cueibet, South Sudan, where he resided.

November 9, 2018 — Today, Jesuits West is announcing the province will release the names of those Jesuits with credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1950.

November 6, 2018 — Benefactors and friends of Jesuits West attended the White Collar Luncheon held on All Saints Day at the Isaac Orr Room, Seattle Archdiocese Chancery. Over 25 Jesuits from Seattle U, Seattle Prep, Bellarmine Prep Tacoma and other NW Jesuit ministries were in attendance.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2018

Mission Magazine - Spring 2018

Mission Magazine - Fall 2017


Companions
Fall, 2018

Companions
Summer, 2018

Companions
Fall, 2017


Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos
The Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos has offered prayerful solitude and inspiring vistas to those seeking spiritual rejuvenation since 1925.