Rev. John Francis Kurtzke Jr., C.S.C.

fr._kurtzke_croppedRev. John Francis Kurtzke Jr., C.S.C., 61, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013.

He was born on March 28, 1951, in Queens, N.Y., the eldest of eight children of Dr. John F. and Margaret M. (Nevin) Kurtzke. Fr. Kurtzke graduated from Gonzaga High School, Washington, D.C., in 1969.

Visitation will be from 3:30 to 9:00 p.m. Monday (March 4, 2013) at Moreau Seminary, with a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday (March 5, 2013) at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Fr. Kurtzke graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics in 1973;a Master’s of Philosophy and a Candidate in Philosophy from UCLA in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics from UCLA in 1978. He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross on Aug. 18, 1979.

Fr. Kurtzke made his First Profession of Vows on Aug. 9, 1980. He earned his M.Div. in Theology from Notre Dame in 1984 and served as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Fr. Kurtzke made his Final Profession on Sept. 1, 1984, and was Ordained on April 13, 1985.

Fr. Kurtzke was Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of Portland from 1985 to 2004 and was also the Chairman of the Mathematics Department for six years. During his tenure as Department Chair, he spearheaded changes in the required mathematics class for liberal arts majors making it a more applicable statistics course that served students in their majors. Fr. Kurtzke was a regular presider of liturgy, along with other Holy Cross Priests in Portland, who served at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish in Stevenson, Wash.

He was on sabbatical from 1993-1994 and served as a Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at Notre Dame, after which he returned to Portland. After treatment for a cerebral hemorrhage at Mayo Clinic in November of 2004, he moved to Holy Cross House and worked as a clerk in the Notre Dame Library. Fr. Kurtzke was assigned to Fatima House in 2006 and moved back to Holy Cross House in 2010.

Fr. Kurtzke is survived by his parents Dr. John and Margaret Kurtzke; his sisters: Catherine (Steven) Brown, Joan (Phillip) Brennan, Elizabeth (Keith) Siebert, Christine (Paul) Hughes; brothers: Dr. Robert (Leala) Kurtzke and James (Kate) Kurtzke; along with several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a sister, Patricia.

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