In Memoriam
Requiescat in Pace Father William Hayes, SJ

Father William Hayes, SJ, a fixture at Jesuit High School in Portland for 32 years where he served as vice principal, president, trustee, chancellor, planned giving director, and chaplain, entered into God's peace September 26 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 89.

Following is a letter from Jesuit High President Thomas D. Arndorfer and Jesuit High Community Superior Father JK Adams, SJ, to the Jesuit High Community on Fr. Hayes' passing:


Fr. William Hayes, S.J. - Honoring a Legend

September 27, 2017

View Photo & Video Tribute

Dear Members of the Jesuit High School Community,

We are deeply saddened to inform you that Fr. William Hayes, S.J. passed away last night. Fr. Hayes was among his Jesuit brothers and receiving care from the wonderful nursing staff at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California at the time he passed. He was 89 years old.

We are deeply indebted to Fr. Hayes for his 32 years of service and leadership at Jesuit High School. As Fr. Robinson states in his book, Honoring the Tradition, "It is difficult to measure the magnitude of the contribution of Fr. William Hayes to Jesuit High School." Fr. Hayes' enduring commitment, visionary leadership, and personal dedication to Jesuit High School and to the surrounding community make him one of the school's most iconic individuals.

The life of Fr. Hayes is a true testament to his enduring legacy. In his youth, William Edward Hayes aspired to a vocation which would enable him to "be closer to God" and to help young people. When he entered the Society of Jesus in 1945, he started down a path toward realizing his dream. For more than 72 years, Fr. Hayes touched the lives of young people and the Jesuit communities with whom he lived throughout his journey.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree from Gonzaga University in 1951, Fr. Hayes began teaching English, Latin, and religion at Marquette High School in Yakima, Washington, and went on to become a legendary figure in the world of Jesuit secondary education.

Upon being ordained a Jesuit priest and receiving his Master's in Theology, Fr. Hayes arrived at Jesuit High School in 1960 as the new vice principal. In 1962, he was transferred to Gonzaga Prep where he began a 14-year career (first as principal, then as president-principal). In 1976, his final year at Gonzaga Prep, he successfully led the school's transition to coeducation. Fr. Hayes next served as vice president at Seattle University and served briefly on Jesuit High School's Board of Trustees. Following his time at Seattle University, Fr. Hayes completed two years as pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Seattle.Fr. Hayes became the president of Jesuit High School during the summer of 1984. In 1985 and for the next six years, he also assumed the role of superior of the Jesuits at Jesuit High School.

Father Hayes' impact on Jesuit was immediate and profound. With such figures as Dick Gedrose, John Nagelman, and Sandy Satterberg, Fr. Hayes led a renaissance at Jesuit. All we have to do is look at the remarkable growth of the school and its programs during his tenure to see the deep contours of Fr. Hayes' vision.

Under his capable and visionary leadership, Jesuit grew into an esteemed educational institution and also became financially stable for the first time in its history. During a difficult economic climate in the early 1980s that nearly caused the school to close its doors, Fr. Hayes successfully transitioned Jesuit to coeducation in 1993. From 1998 (when he resigned as president) to 2005, Fr. Hayes was Chancellor at Jesuit. Beginning in 2004, he became the Planned Giving Director and school Chaplain.

What is particularly notable is his devotion to securing the school's mission and future. Fr. Hayes embraced every phase of development and emphasized the importance of building the school's endowment in order to provide for future generations of students. Endowments and other investments have grown from $657,000 in 1984 to their current value of more than $50 million. Fr. Hayes also founded and cultivated the Legacy Club, a group of 288 individuals who include Jesuit in their estate plans, thereby ensuring the fiscal future and longevity of the school.

Fr. Hayes retired from his position as Jesuit High School's Planned Giving Director in January, 2012 and remained at Jesuit to assist with the school community's spiritual needs. In 2014, he went to live at the Jesuit House in Spokane, Washington, and finally to the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, where he spent his final years.

One of the enduring legacies of Father William Hayes centers on the relationships he fostered with members of the Jesuit High community. His commitment to nurturing lay leadership and to reaching out to all members of the community has left an indelible imprint on the school and on future generations of students. Fr. Hayes helped to build a community that exemplifies the values and principles of Ignatian spirituality. He was a visionary and a leader who showed us every day what it means to be a person for others.

Four weeks ago, Fr. Hayes visited us on campus. He was in great spirits and his passion for Jesuit High School, for which he has given so much over the decades, was not diminished in the least. He had questions about the faculty, the mission, Jesuit's plans for the future, and, of course, the prospects for our football team this fall. We are deeply grateful to have had an opportunity to be with him this last time at Jesuit.

We are honoring Fr. Hayes' wish to have his funeral held at Jesuit High School. The funeral Mass will most likely be held on Friday, October 20, at 8:35 am. More details about the funeral will be provided soon and will also be available on our school website. Please keep Fr. Hayes' family and friends in your prayers.

Fittingly, we will end with an Irish blessing that Fr. Hayes often gave to our senior class at the end of Baccalaureate.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.


Thomas D. Arndorfer, President Fr. JK Adams, SJ, Superior

Recent News

July 22, 2020 — Pope Francis declared Fr. Eusebio Kino, SJ, venerable on July 10.

July 14, 2020 — After four ordinations went off without a hitch last week, Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of the Jesuits West Province, had reason to be hopeful.

June 30, 2020 — Fr. Frank Buckley, SJ, clinical director of the Center at Blessed Sacrament, the Jesuit parish in Hollywood, shares how the parish has responded to the pandemic.

June 25, 2020 — Fr. Chris Corbally, SJ, an astronomer at the Vatican Observatory in Arizona, now has an asteroid named for him.

June 24, 2020 — Dr. Fauci explains how his Jesuit education helped prepare him for his work in public health.

June 23, 2020 — Jack Krouse, SJ, of Jesuits West, was ordained to the diaconate at Saint Ignatius Church in Paris on June 20.

June 19, 2020 — It is with great joy that the Jesuits West Province announces ordination dates have been set next month for six Jesuits of the province.

view all news

Search news


Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2020

Jesuits West Magazine - Fall 2019

Jesuits West Magazine - Spring 2019

Fall, 2019

Summer, 2019

Fall, 2018

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.