Jesuit Father Bernard J. Streicher died on Aug. 17, 2017, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 88 years old.
Fr. Streicher was born on November 11, 1928 in Toledo, Ohio. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on August 21, 1947 at Milford, Ohio. He became a member of the Detroit Province in 1955, and was ordained on June 12, 1960 at West Baden College in Indiana. He took final vows on June 17, 1977 in Toledo, Ohio.
Before entering the Society, Fr. Streicher attended grade school at Gesu School in Toledo and in 1946 graduated from Campion High School in Praire du Chien, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Notre Dame for one year before entering the Society. As a Jesuit, Fr. Streicher earned a bachelor’s degree in literature from Xavier University (1949-1951), a master’s degree in English from Loyola University Chicago (1955), and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from West Baden College in southern Indiana (1957-1961). Fr. Streicher’s master thesis was titled “The Effect of Music on Paradise Lost.”
During regency Fr. Streicher taught English at the University of Detroit High School (1954-1957). After finishing his studies, he spent most of his Jesuit life — 46 years — teaching English at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. While in Cleveland, he also was subminister (1965-1970), rector (1997-2003), and department chair at St. Ignatius.
Fr. Streicher’s dedication to his family led him to teach English at St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo for a decade (1970-1980). He moved to Toledo when his mother’s health deteriorated, and she was unable to care for Fr. Streicher’s two handicapped brothers. Every evening, Fr. Streicher would make sure that his brothers had their dinner; and he got them ready for bed. During the summers, Fr. Streicher took his brothers on a fishing vacation in Michigan. Fr. Streicher returned to Cleveland from which he visited his brothers every Saturday until their respective deaths. He moved to Colombiere Center in 2015 to care for his health.
When one first saw Fr. Streicher, he was a very serious man who hid a dry sense of humor and a droll smile. He never missed the incongruities of life. He was as meticulous about his classroom preparation as he was about the impeccable grammar references in the “Brown Bomber,” the second edition of the Writing Handbook published by him in 1997. He was known to enter his classroom during off hours and practice his next presentation (even after 50 years of teaching!) to the empty desks so that when the desks were occupied the next day, the students would be as engaged with the English language as he was. Last year (2016) Fr. Streicher published an updated version of the Brown Bomber entitled “From Word to Sentence: A Guide to Grammar, Usage, and Sentence Style.” This edition was to be the first volume of a series.