Jesuit Fr. W. Richard Ott, SJ, died on July 15, 2014, in hospice care in Omaha, Neb., having had several of his fellow community members keep vigil with him during the day. He was 72 years old, a Jesuit for 50 years, and a priest for 42 years.
Father Ott was born in Ottumwa, Iowa, on July 6, 1942. After completing grade school and high school in Ottumwa, he attended Creighton University in Omaha from 1960 to 1963. On August 14, 1963, Fr. Ott entered the Society of Jesus at Jesuit College, St. Bonifacius, Minn. He had the usual Jesuit course of studies at Jesuit College and Saint Louis University and was ordained a priest on May 18, 1972. In 1978, he completed a doctoral program in science education at the University of Iowa. He did tertianship from 1981 to 1982 and professed final vows in the Society on April 22, 1982.
Father Ott taught math and physics at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha (1968–69 and 1978–79) and physics at John Carroll University in Cleveland (1979–92). Following a noble Jesuit tradition, he worked as a seismologist at the Observatorio San Calixto in Bolivia (1992–94) and at the Boston College Observatory in Weston, Mass. In 2002, he began a second career as a hospital chaplain at the Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha — a ministry he continued until his final illness forced him to enter a hospice program.
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