Father James R. Conyard, SJ, pastor in Jesuit churches in the Pacific Northwest and retreat director in Alaska, died Thanksgiving morning, November 26, 2020, at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California. He was 89 years old and a Jesuit for 71 years.
Fr. Conyard was born in Spokane, Washington, on April 23, 1931, the son of Joseph Conyard and Anne Rose Jordan Conyard. The family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Fr. Conyard attended Central Catholic High School. Upon graduation, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon, along with his older brother, Joseph, on September 7, 1949. Fr. Conyard returned to his hometown, Spokane, for philosophy studies (BA, liberal arts, 1955; Ph.L., philosophy, 1956) and for a period of teaching English, Latin and history at Gonzaga Preparatory School. Theology studies were made at the Alma College campus of Santa Clara University, and Fr. Conyard was ordained a priest in St. Aloysius Church in Spokane on June 16, 1962.
Upon completion of studies, Fr. Conyard served as assistant pastor at St. Aloysius Church (1964-1971) and as assistant pastor for a year at St. Jude’s Church in Havre, Montana, before becoming the pastor there until 1977. Following a sabbatical year, he served as a retreat director at Holy Spirit Center in Anchorage, Alaska (1978-1988). Returning to the lower states, he was a retreat and spiritual director at the Carmelite Monastery in Eugene, Oregon (1989-2011), and a pastoral minister at Gonzaga University (2011-2017). His last assignment was a ministry of prayer at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, California, for the final three years of his life.
Fr. Conyard was predeceased by his brother, Fr. Joseph W. Conyard, SJ. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a funeral Mass was held privately at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center.
To view Fr. Conyard’s livestreamed funeral Mass, click here.