Father Stephen R. Kuder, SJ, died August 5, 2021, in Spokane five days after his 79th birthday. A Jesuit for 61 years and a priest for 48 years, he served primarily at Gonzaga University and St. Aloysius Catholic Church, where he began his service in 1977. His Catholic faith was nurtured by his family and education at St. Augustine’s Catholic grade school and parish, Gonzaga Preparatory School, Gonzaga University and his Jesuit training.
During his many years of ministry, Fr. Kuder was a teacher, administrator, spiritual director and preacher. His intelligence, depth of wisdom and ability to articulate the mission of Jesuit education was the gift he brought to his students, colleagues, the Gonzaga University Board of Trustees and the boards of the various Jesuit high schools on which he served. Fr. Kuder’s gifts and generosity extended beyond education to his preaching and pastoral ministry, which affected generations of Gonzaga University students and parishioners of St. Aloysius Church as well as the wider community. His pastoral ministry, which included many baptisms, weddings and funerals, consistently nourished Fr. Kuder and brought him joy.
To the many who knew him, Fr. Kuder is often described as a big-hearted man who was full of life and love, quick to smile and tease, with an infectious laugh. The constant message throughout his teaching and preaching was the importance of embracing God’s love, exuding joy and remaining grounded in faith. He lived a life of integrity rooted in deep faith and hope and was willing to follow Jesus into the joy of the Resurrection.
Through his years as a Jesuit, Fr. Kuder was lovingly committed to his Jesuit brothers and was quick to bring his wit and humor to any Jesuit rec room or dining room conversation. His fierce loyalty also extended to his many friends, both old and new, and the many families that considered him part of them.
Fr. Kuder was blessed by a large, loving, Catholic family that sustained him in his vocation as a Jesuit priest. The oldest of seven siblings, a loving son, and a beloved brother and uncle, he is preceded in death by his parents, Aloys and Inez Kuder, and his brother Phil Kuder. He is survived by sisters Mary Beth (Dave) Celio, Marguerite (Mike) Busch, Ann Kuder (John Russell), Jan (Creigh) House, sister-in-law Toni Kuder and brother John (Celeste) Kuder. He was uncle to 24 and great uncle to 44.
Funeral services are open to the public and will be held at St. Aloysius Catholic Church on Gonzaga University’s campus. The vigil is Sunday, August 15 at 7 p.m., and the funeral Mass is Monday, August 16 at 11 a.m. A reception hosted by Gonzaga University will follow. In order to protect Fr. Kuder’s family and Jesuit community, attendees are asked to wear masks. The funeral will also be livestreamed at https://stalschurch.org/mass-livestream/
Donations may be made to the USA West Province, Society of Jesus.