Brother Stephen J. Souza, SJ, entered into God’s peace on August 27 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 81.
Born on August 22, 1936 in Eleele, Kauai, Hawaii, Br. Souza grew up there and in Hanapepe, Kauai, attending Eleele School and Waimea High School. His early years were filled with a passion for sports (He was an avid Yankees fan.) and raising rabbits (which occasionally graced his family’s dinner table). This latter interest led him to join the Future Farmers of America while in high school.
Following high school, Br. Souza served in the U.S. Army. After his honorable discharge, he took up the call to another line of service as a brother in the Society of Jesus, entering the Jesuit Novitiate on March 8, 1958.
Over the course of his 59 years as a Jesuit, Br. Souza served in a variety of capacities, many of them building on business skills he had begun to acquire in the Army, but which he later expanded and developed while working in the business office and taking courses in accounting at Seattle University. That background provided him with the opportunity to spend two years teaching accounting in the Philippines.
In 1984, Br. Souza moved to Spokane to begin more than 33 years of service at Gonzaga University, first as an accountant for the bookstore, and ultimately keeping the books for the many student organizations on campus. In his later years, he would often comment on how much he loved being able to work with students.
Dedicated to his work, Br. Souza often insisted that he wanted to “die with his boots on.” Despite a chronic illness that led to bone cancer, Br. Souza remained adamant that he wanted to stay active in service as long as he could. It was therefore with mixed feelings that Br. Souza acknowledged that his energy was not sufficient to the task of continuing in his work. Yet, in characteristic fashion, he moved decisively once he had received permission to move to Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Only a few days after arriving in Los Gatos, Br. Souza passed away.
Br. Souza will be remembered fondly for the many gifts he brought to community, among them his sense of humor, his passionate interest in World War II history, his love of baseball, his gift for cultivating orchids, and his culinary talents—especially his artistry in baking pies.
He is preceded in death by his father, Edward M. Souza, his mother, Jeanette A. Melton, his brother, Edward M. Souza Jr., and his half-brothers, Walter H. Souza and Lester M. Souza. He is survived by his brother David M. Melton, half-brother Wayne H. Souza, and 11 nieces and nephews and their families.
A vigil will be held for Br. Souza at 7 p.m., September 7 at the Jesuit House Chapel at Gonzaga University. Mass of Christian Burial will take place at noon on September 8, also at the Jesuit House Chapel. Inurnment will occur at Mt. St. Michael’s Cemetery Columbarium.
Donations in memory of Br. Souza may be made to Jesuits West, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031-0068 or through the Province's secure donation site at www.jesuitswest.org/donations online.