Funeral of Father Tom Steele

University RelationsOctober 27, 2010

Rev. Thomas J. Steele, S.J., Professor Emeritus of English at Regis College and creator of the Regis Santo Collection in Dayton Library, passed away in Denver on October 23. He had been residing at the Xavier Jesuit Center next to the Regis campus. Fr. Steele had taught for 25 years in the English Department; for many of those years, he also held a joint appointment at the University of New Mexico, where he conducted his research on the early Catholic religious tradition of the penitentes and the local artists (santeros) in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado who created the many santos (images of saints) that grace the churches and homes of that region.

Of particular significance is his development of the Regis Santo Collection in the Dayton Memorial Library, which exhibits many of these beautiful works of art. His volume, The Regis Santos: Thirty Years of Collecting, 1966-96, describes the process of developing this teaching collection and the key art pieces in it. In addition, he published other works on the history of the Catholic Church in the Southwest, including one on the founding bishop of Santa Fe, Archbishop Jean Lamy, and his influence on the region, Archbishop Lamy: In His Own Words.

Upon retirement from Regis in 1996, Fr. Steele served as parish priest and researcher-writer in Albuquerque and nearby towns. He returned to Denver to retire about two months ago.

A visitation and Mass will be held for Father Steele in the St. John Francis Regis Chapel on Saturday, October 30. The visitation is at 9:00 a.m. followed by Mass at 10:00 a.m.