Father Bert Mead, SJ, died Jan. 20, 2021, in Grand Coteau, La. He was 91 years old, a Jesuit for 71 years and a priest for 58 years.
James Herbert Mead was born in Jacksonville, Fla. on Feb. 15, 1929, to Joseph W. and Isa Monica Sedding Mead. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Joseph, and his three sisters, Mrs. Eugene Randolph, Helen Mead and Martha Mead. He is survived by two nieces, Joan Randolph and Monica Shiner.
After serving in the Florida National Guard, 1947-49, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate in Grand Coteau, July 1, 1949. He pronounced first vows two years later and was ordained to the priesthood on June 13, 1962 in St. Joseph’s Chapel at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. He pronounced final vows on Aug. 15, 1966, at the Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University in Chicago.
Father Mead was assigned to Spring Hill to teach philosophy 1964-65. After earning his Ph.D. in psychology, he taught that subject at Spring Hill, 1970-71 and 1973, and at Loyola University New Orleans, 1971-72. He also did counseling and research in New Orleans, 1972-73. From 1973 to 1978, he worked for Catholic Social Services and for the tribunal of the Diocese of Lafayette, La. He then taught and did research at Jesuit High of Tampa, 1978-79.
At this point in his career, he turned to pastoral work, from 1979-81 in Fairbanks, Alaska, followed by one year of teaching at the Corpus Christi Minor Seminary in Texas, a semester at St. Augustine Seminary in Bungoma, Kenya, and then back to parish work. His assignments included St. John’s Mission Church in Lacassine, La., St. Charles Borromeo in Grand Coteau, and Holy Cross Catholic Mission in Chattahoochee, Fla., 1991-96. He also had brief assignments at the Federal Corrections Institute in Marianna, Fla., St. Pius X Church in O’Donnell, Texas, Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans, Immaculate Conception Parish in Jacksonville, Fla., and Sacred Heart Parish in Tampa.
In 2004, he retired to Ignatius Residence in New Orleans, from which he moved to the Alphonsus Rodriguez Pavilion in Grand Coteau.
Father Mead earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin from Spring Hill College and a licentiate in sacred theology from St. Mary’s College in St. Mary’s, Kansas. His doctoral degree in psychology was from Loyola University Chicago. He had a post-doctoral year at the University of California at Berkeley.
Father Mead’s memorial Mass was celebrated on January 25, 2021, in the Domestic Chapel of St. Charles College, with only the Jesuit Community in attendance because of the coronavirus restrictions. The graveside service and interment were in the St. Charles College cemetery.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through Fr. Mead’s life of service to God and God’s people.
Memorial gifts may be made to the USA Central and Southern Province of the Society of Jesus at 4511 West Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108 or through this website.