Jesuit Father William J. Hutchison died Oct. 19, 2018, at the Fusz Pavilion in St. Louis. He was 83 years old, a Jesuit for 65 years and a priest for 52 years.
He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on March 21, 1935 to Joseph B. Hutchison and Theresa Haak Hutchison, who preceded him in death. He was also preceded in death by brothers Joseph and Raymond and his sisters Louise Hutchison and Rita Hutchison. He is survived by his brother Robert, as well as his brothers in the Society of Jesus. He will be remembered for his selfless and creative work with the vulnerable and marginalized—at times gently and at other times with boldness and passion. By his words and example, he challenged, supported, and enriched his brother Jesuits and many others who felt his influence.
Following his 1953 graduation from St. Louis University High, he entered the Society at St. Stanislaus Seminary, in Florissant, Missouri, on August 17, 1953. He was ordained on June 8, 1966 at St. Francis Xavier College Church in St. Louis. He pronounced his final vows on February 2, 1975 at St. Matthew’s Church in St. Louis, Missouri.
Fr. Hutchison was a professor of Social Work at Saint Louis University for over twenty years (1972-96). During most of those years he was also an assistant pastor at St. Matthew’s Parish (1973-89); for three of those years he was Superior of the Jesuit community there (1986-89). After a sabbatical in Washington, D.C. where he did work for Catholic Charities USA and was interim Secretary for Social Ministries at the Jesuit Conference, he returned to teaching at Saint Louis University (1997-2005). Beginning in 2005, he served as Treasurer on the Board of Directors of Northside Community Housing. He engaged in pastoral ministry at St. Matthew’s Parish (2005-2012) until his assignment to the Fusz Pavilion in 2013.
For thirty years at Saint Louis University, Father Hutchison gave himself to teaching, administration, committee work, and all that accompanies the higher education apostolate, first as a professor and subsequently as Dean of the University’s School of Social Work. At the same time, his work in north St. Louis had a huge practical impact. He was instrumental in the founding of the Northside Community Center and served as its board chair for years. He was a major factor in helping the organization flourish in the neighborhood around St. Matthew’s Parish, providing programs such as social services for the elderly, youth recreation and summer employment, and affordable housing. His link with St. Louis University helped make it possible for many university students, through community service, to learn from and become friends with the residents of the Ville, the neighborhood in which St. Matthew’s Parish rests. He also involvement continued even as declining health dictated his assignment to the Fusz Pavilion. He lived and ministered for over twenty years at St. Matthew’s Parish, serving for three years as superior of the Jesuit Community there.
After First Vows and Juniorate studies at Florissant, he studied at Saint Louis University graduating with a B.A. in philosophy (1959). His regency was at St. Louis University High (1961-63). He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas (1961-1967), finishing with the S.T.L. (1968). He also received an M.A. in sociology (1964) and the Ph.L. in philosophy (1964). He earned a Ph.D. in social work and sociology from the University of Michigan (1972).