Jesuit Father Edward L. Maginnis died Oct. 7, 2018, at the Fusz Pavilion in St. Louis. He was 95 years old, a Jesuit for 78 years and a priest for 65 years. Fr. Maginnis donated his body to the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
He was born in St. Louis on Nov. 16, 1922, to Louis E. and Nan Byrnes Maginnis, who preceded him in death. Following his 1940 graduation from St. Louis University High School, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Missouri, on Aug. 8, 1940. He was ordained June 17, 1953 at St Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas. He pronounced his final vows Aug. 15, 1957 in the Basilica of St. Ignatius Loyola in Spain.
Fr. Maginnis had a gift for music but spent most of his apostolic life teaching theology and religious studies at Regis College (now University) in Denver, where he organized and chaired the theology department. From 1986 to 1991, he taught theology and was assistant administrator of the Regis Career Education Program, an extension of Regis College in Colorado Springs. In 1991, he returned to the Denver campus as professor of religious studies and continued as the college became a University. During that time, he taught religious studies to non-traditional adult learners in the Regis College for Professional Studies. In his last years he served as alumni chaplain.
During 44 years of teaching theology and music at Regis University in Denver, Fr. Maginnis left an indelible mark, both on the school and on the lives of his students. He helped bring Regis theologically into the post-Vatican II era when he created the school’s religious studies department. Along with Fr. Robert Boyle, a professor of literature, he also developed a music appreciation course that many Regis alumni from the ’60s and ’70s consider one of the most influential courses they took.
He was deeply involved in pastoral ministry and had a fine reputation as a preacher. His contagious love for life’s beautiful gifts – art, music, food, conversation – and his booming voice made him the joyful focus of any gathering.
He did spend some time away from Regis, first as a consultor for the former Missouri Province (1970-75) and later as Provincial Assistant for Higher Education (1979-85).
He moved to Jesuit Hall in St. Louis in 2009 as a pastoral minister and retired to a ministry of prayer in 2014.
After completing his seminary studies, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin (1945) and a Master’s and Ph.L. in philosophy (1947) from Saint Louis University. He studied theology at St. Mary’s College in St. Marys, Kansas (1950-55). Subsequently, he earned an S.T.D. at the Institut Catholique in Paris, France (1957).
He is survived by his sister, Jane (Don) Musick of St. Louis and her family, as well as his brothers in the Society of Jesus. He will be remembered for his love of life and his profound impact on Regis University in Denver and the students he taught there.