Jesuit Father Edwin L. Lisson died on Nov. 21, 2014, at St. Louis University Hospital after suffering a heart attack earlier in the day. He was 76 years old, a Jesuit for 58 years, and a priest for 45 years.
Born in Kansas City, Kansas, on March 1, 1938, he attended grade schools in his home town before graduating from Ward High School. Fr. Lisson entered the Society at St. Stanislaus Seminary, Florissant, Missouri on Aug. 8, 1956. He had the usual post-novitiate Jesuit course of studies at St. Stanislaus and Fusz Memorial, earning a Ph. L. in philosophy at the latter. After regency at Kapaun High School in Wichita, Kansas, he was part of the transition of the theologate from St. Mary’s College to St. Louis University, finishing his studies there with the S.T.L. He was ordained on May 21, 1969, made Tertianship in Spokane, Washington, and pronounced his final vows on Sept.r 9, 1978.
Fr. Lisson was invited to spend his fourth year of theology living in the dorms at Parks College and teaching a theology course. At time, he was contemplating further studies in engineering. However, one year there led to four years during which he came to realize that, while there were lots of engineers, both the students and the faculty were wrestling with myriads of moral and ethical issues. This led him to doctoral studies in moral theology from the Gregorian University where he finished in 1975 with a specialty in medical ethics. He spent a year of residency at the Institute of Religion and Human Development at Texas Medical Center in Houston, before he began his mission of teaching at St. Louis University in 1976. Aside from two brief absences for a sabbatical in 1984-85 and a year as visiting professor at Gonzaga University (1990-91), St. Louis University was his home for the rest of his life.
His experience at Parks clearly informed his studies and his ministry. His doctoral dissertation was on Gerald Kelly, S.J., the great Jesuit moralist, and, in addition to his teaching, Fr. Lisson devoted himself to counselling and providing guidance in moral questions in ways that those who were seeking his help found clear and compassionate. He was skilled in cases of conscience, and even after his retirement from the classroom, he continued to be available, and lightened the burdens of many who were wrestling with moral dilemmas that had seemed insoluble to them.
Fr. Lisson was preceded in death by his parents Leo Antone Lisson and Velma Mitchell Lisson, and his brother Thomas Lisson.