Jesuit Father Ralph H. Talkin died on October 10, 2016, at Mercy Health – St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. He was traveling from Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan, to St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati for a reunion, when he fell and broke his hip while getting out of the car in Toledo. He was taken to the hospital and died before hip surgery could occur. He was 90 years old, a Jesuit for 72 years, and a priest for 59 years. May he rest in peace.
Fr. Talkin was born on August 13, 1926, in Chicago. After graduating from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, in 1944, he entered the Society on June 10, 1944. He was ordained a priest on June 19, 1957, at West Baden College in West Baden, Indiana, made tertianship in Salamanca, Spain, and professed final vows on August 15, 1961, at Loyola University Chicago.
Fr. Talkin spent most of his life teaching theology and working as a chaplain. He was known for his great enthusiasm and determination. Students and faculty knew of Fr. Talkin’s great love of Jesus and his devotion to Ignatian spirituality. He taught about Jesus, Christianity and the Catholic Church. As a dorm chaplain at Loyola University Chicago, he encouraged young men and women to seek out and encounter Christ’s love — especially through the Spiritual Exercises. In the 1960s, Fr. Talkin and Fr. Donald Hayes, SJ, were primarily responsible for the development of a spiritual program on Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus. As an army chaplain, Fr. Talkin found grace helping to guide young men who were confused and without values toward faith in Jesus.
Fr. Talkin earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin (1949) and a master’s degree in English (1955) from Loyola University Chicago. His master’s thesis was titled “The Effect of Nature and Imagination upon Wordsworth as Seen in The Prelude.” He earned licentiate degrees in philosophy (1951) and sacred theology (1958) from West Baden College. Finally, after encountering many challenges along the way, Fr. Talkin earned a doctorate of sacred theology (1960) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
During his regency, Fr. Talkin taught Latin and English at St. Xavier High School (1951-1954). After finishing his doctorate, he began teaching theology at Loyola University Chicago. Fr. Talkin taught there for almost 30 years (1961-1969 and 1976-1997). He spent two years as a visiting instructor of theology at Saint Louis University’s program in Madrid, Spain (1991-1993). In addition to teaching, Fr. Talkin spent a great deal of his time as a chaplain. In the early 1970s, he was a U.S. Army Chaplain stationed at Fort Knox, Ky. (1969-1976), in addition to being deployed in Korea. While teaching at Loyola, he was also a part-time chaplain at Presence Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill.
After leaving Loyola University Chicago, Fr. Talkin became pastor of St. Louis Catholic Church in Glenrock, Wyo. (1997-2006). He then was chaplain to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Denver, Colo. (2006-2010). Although he moved to Colombiere Center in 2010 to care for his health, he continued to spend his summers working at St. Louis Catholic Church in Wyoming.