Died 4 June 2016
Jesuit Father John J. Karwin died on June 4, 2016, at Campion Center, Weston, Massachusetts. Fr. Karwin was born on Oct. 29, 1934, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the oldest of four boys in the family of John and Elizabeth (Zubko) Karwin, and grew up in nearby Stratford. Fr. Karwin attended local public schools, but an overnight trip with parish altar boys to a seminary had left him with a lasting image of both higher education and of a possible vocation.
During his sophomore year at Fairfield University in Connecticut, a lay teacher said in class one day that, statistically, three of the 60y students in the class would enter the priesthood or religious life. Fr. Karwin felt he was speaking directly to him. He began talking to a Jesuit counselor and, upon graduation in 1956, entered the Society of Jesus on Aug. 14 at the Novitiate of St. Andrew-on-Hudson, Poughkeepsie, New York.
As a college graduate, he did only one year of juniorate, split between St. Andrew’s and the newly opened Shadowbrook. Two years of philosophy studies followed at Weston (1959-1961). Fr. Karwin spent regency at Cranwell (1961-1963), teaching math and science and living the hectic life of a scholastic in a boarding school. The following year he pursued a master’s degree in mathematics at Boston College. In 1964, he began theology studies at Weston.
Fr. Karwin was ordained on June 10, 1967, at St. Ignatius Church, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.
After his fourth year of theology studies, in 1968, he was assigned to Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, Massachusetts, to teach math and religion. In 1972, he asked for a change from high school work and became minister and treasurer of the Weston Jesuit Community in Cambridge.
In 1976, he found his footing in the field of student financial aid and financial administration, where he would spend the rest of his working life as a Jesuit — first at the University of Detroit (1976-1983) and then at Boston College (1983-1986). Fr. Karwin pronounced Final Vows on Aug. 15, 1978, at the University of Detroit.
In 1990, he heard that Wheeling College was looking for help in its financial aid program. He applied and spent the next 17 years there (1990-2007), first as financial-aid advisor and then teaching mathematics.
In 2007, Fr. Karwin retired from full-time work and moved to Campion Center, where he kept busy helping out in Boston-area parishes and pursuing the hobby of woodcarving he had begun years before. His health gradually declined but he continued to take part in community activities as he was able. A hospital stay at the beginning of June 2016 made it clear that further treatment would not be beneficial. He was anointed by the superior and a group of fellow Jesuits. He died peacefully in the late afternoon of June 4, 2016.
Fr. Karwin is survived by several nieces and nephews.