In Memoriam
Fr. Thomas W. Franxman, SJ

May 28, 2020 — Father Thomas W. Franxman, SJ, retired professor of Scripture and Semitic languages, died May 24, 2020 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, at the age of 87 and would have celebrated his 70th anniversary as a Jesuit later this year.

Thomas William Franxman was born in Covington, KY on January 14, 1933, the only child of J. William Franxman, a meat cutter, and Mary Jane Fitzpatrick. The family moved to San Francisco and Tom attended St. Ignatius High School. Upon graduation in 1950, he entered the Jesuit Order in Los Gatos to study for the priesthood. His studies took him to Spokane, where he earned his BA and MA in philosophy at Gonzaga University. From 1958-1961, he taught Greek at St. Ignatius High School. This was followed by his theological studies at the Alma College campus of Santa Clara University, where he earned a master’s degree and a Licentiate in Theology. He was ordained a priest June 5, 1964 in St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco.

After completing a year of studies in Austria, Tom did graduate studies at Oxford University, UK, earning a PhD in Semitic Languages in 1975, with a thesis on the literary and exegetical treatment of Genesis in the Jewish Antiquities of Flavius Josephus, later published in book form.

He served on the Faulty of Ancient Oriental Studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome, teaching Semitic languages, Judaic literature of the inter-testimental period, and the Talmud, 1970-1986. He then taught languages and Scripture at Heythrop College of the University of London, 1986-1990, the Pacific Regional Seminary, Fiji, 1991-1996, and Loyola School of Theology, Manila, 1997-2001.

Returning to the United States, he did research at Jewish Theological Seminary, New York City, 2001-2007, and Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, 2007-2012. In 2012, he retired to a ministry of prayer at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, where he had begun his Jesuit training.

He had no surviving relatives. A private funeral Mass was held at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Donations in memory of Father Franxman may be made to the Jesuits West Province, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or to a charity of your choosing.

Recent News

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 18, 2020 — Following today’s Supreme Court decision that maintained the DACA program, Jesuits West Provincial Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, said he was overjoyed by the ruling.

June 10, 2020 — “As a black man living in America, the video of George Floyd’s suffocation cues unhealed experiences with police in this country and makes me less optimistic that change between the Black community and the police will soon change,” writes Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, for the Jesuit Post.

June 10, 2020 — Fr. Michael Engh, SJ, has been appointed associate chancellor of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, effective fall 2020.

June 9, 2020 — "Racism just permeates the whole system," says attorney Linda Starr. Starr co-founded the North California Innocence Project (NCIP) at Jesuit-founded Santa Clara University.

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 the Sierra
The Jesuit Retreat Center of the Sierra is an adult, youth, and family retreat center in Applegate, Placer County, California, for nonprofit groups of 20-130 (105 guests overnight; +25 additional beds in summer only).