Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. Theodore (Ted) W. Walters, SJ, who died on Friday, September 9, 2016, at Pedro Arrupe Community, in Karen-Nairobi, Kenya. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 73 years, and a priest for 60 years.
Born in Cleveland on July 28, 1926, Ted attended grade school at St. Thomas Aquinas Elementary School in Cleveland, and went on to Saint Ignatius High School. He joined the Society of Jesus on August 20, 1943, at Milford Novitiate in Ohio. After pronouncing first vows, he completed two years of juniorate at the same formation house in Milford, while also studying at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Ted did his first philosophy studies and classes in Greek and Latin at Saint Louis University. During his regency, he taught classics for a year at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., and for two years at Saint Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. In 1953, he received a master's degree in Latin and Greek from Saint Louis University and entered West Baden College in Indiana. There, he began theological studies, eventually graduating in 1957 with a licentiate from Loyola University Chicago in Illinois. He was ordained a priest on June 13, 1956, and did his tertianship at St. Stanislaus Tertianship in Cleveland from 1957 to 1958. He professed final vows on February 2, 1961.
Ted taught classics at Milford Novitiate and Colombiere College in Clarkston, Mich., from 1958 to 1962. He earned a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C., in June 1966, and then went to South Korea as a Fulbright lecturer in linguistics. Ted taught at Sogang University from September 1966 to January 1967. He also taught at the University of Detroit from 1967 to 1974, and served as dean of the university's Graduate School from 1974 to 1977. He served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at John Carroll University in Cleveland, from 1977 to 1982. He then served as president of St. John's Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio, from 1982 to 1992.
Ted's missionary journey to the Eastern Africa Province began in 1992, when he was sent to Nyegezi Social Training Institute in Mwanza, Tanzania, where he taught journalism and computer sciences. In 1997, he became dean of studies at the institute, while continuing to teach. While he resided at Nyegezi, he celebrated Mass every Sunday at St. Francis Xavier Parish. Ted was very instrumental in assisting the Tanzania Episcopal Conference to upgrade the institute to become a Catholic university. His efforts bore fruit in 1998, when the institute acquired university status and became Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT).
From 2001 to 2004, Ted served as the university's deputy vice-chancellor for academic affairs, while continuing to serve as dean of studies. In 2005, he became associate professor and lecturer in public relations and advertising. Ted retired from SAUT in February 2010, and moved to the Loyola High School community in Dar es Salaam, where he served as acting superior until October 2014. In addition, he served as province national secretary for the Apostleship of Prayer until February 2016, when, due to declining health, he was brought to Pedro Arrupe Community in Karen-Nairobi for medical care until his death.
Ted devoted most of his life to teaching. He lived his life as a Jesuit with great dedication and simplicity. During the last days of his life, he looked back with a great sense of fulfillment. In one of his final reflections, he said, "It is nice to be a young Jesuit, it is rewarding to be a middle-aged Jesuit, and it is pleasurable, at least if you are careful to prepare for it, to be an elderly Jesuit." He lived simply and was always ready to serve others.
Ted's funeral and burial will be in Africa.