Father Thomas Patrick Finsterbach, SJ, died July 8, 2020 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 74 years old and had been a Jesuit for 56 years, 44 of them a priest.
Tom was born in Buffalo, NY on January 15, 1946, the oldest child of Thomas Finsterbach and Mary Margaret Moran Finsterbach, both teachers. The family moved to Ontario, CA, and attended Pomona Catholic Boys’ High School. Upon graduation, he entered the Jesuit novitiate in Los Gatos in 1963 and began studies for the priesthood. Philosophical studies took him to Gonzaga University and the University of Chicago (MA, 1970) and the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley for theological training (M.Div., 1976). He was ordained a priest in Blessed Sacrament Church, Hollywood, in 1976. He also earned an MA in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley (1976), and, in his later years, an MA in biological sciences (2002) and a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Physiology (2007), both from Stanford University.
Tom’s ministry was varied. In his early years, he was a high school teacher of English at Loyola High School, Los Angeles, Bellarmine Prep, San Jose, and Jesuit High School, Sacramento. His pastoral ministry included a chaplaincy at Juvenile Hall, San Jose, where he counseled and taught Bible classes, campus ministry at Stanford University, and parish ministry in the San José diocese, witnessing marriages and officiating at baptisms and funerals. He became the unofficial chaplain to motorcycle clubs in the South Bay and conducted the annual blessing of bikes. In the years leading up to his retirement, he was engaged in research at Stanford Medical School on approaches to treating heart failure. He was a man of many talents and interests, who found his relaxation in crossword puzzles and an evening cigar in the garden.
Tom was predeceased by a sister, Mary Kashuba, and is survived by his sister, Elizabeth Tulac, of Claremont, CA, and his nieces Megan Tulac Phillips of Nashville, Tenn., Shawn Elyse Tulac Clancy of London, UK, and Michelle Tulac of Brooklyn, NY.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, funeral and burial will be private. Donations in memory of Father Tom may be made to the Jesuits West Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or to a charity of your choosing.