May 8, 2023 – Father Joseph M. Vanderholt, SJ, died May 6, 2023, in Land O’Lakes, Fla. He was 85 years old, a Jesuit for 67 years and a priest for 54 years.
Remembered by his Jesuit brothers as a priest of humble demeanor and a kind and gentle confessor, he will be remembered at a Mass of Christian Burial in the Chapel of the Holy Cross at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 9, at 6:00 pm. His burial will take place in the Jesuit cemetery at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La.
Joseph Vanderholt was born in Beaumont, Texas, on June 17, 1937. He was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Helen Donahue Vanderholt, and his two brothers, Charles Vanderholt, Jr., and the Rev. Monsignor James Vanderholt. He is survived by a niece and his brothers in the Society of Jesus.
He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Grand Coteau on Sept. 7, 1955. He pronounced first vows on Sept. 8, 1957, and he was ordained to the priesthood at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Dallas, on June 1, 1968.
He began his long career teaching in Jesuit schools at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, 1963-65, and following his ordination, from 1969 to 1979. He taught at Jesuit High School in New Orleans for several years. He also served in campus ministry at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala.
His longest assignment was at Immaculate Conception Parish in Albuquerque, from 2001 to 2021. In 2021, he began his final assignment, as a pastoral minister at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla.
Father Vanderholt had a deep love for music and was an excellent pianist. He was exceedingly well-read in literature with a love for theatre, cinema and television drama. In fact, as a young priest he studied drama for a year at Catholic University. To the very end, he put his impressive memory and command of English to fine use in his preaching and daily conversation.
He earned a philosophy degree at Spring Hill College and a Master of Arts degree in English literature at the University of Chicago. He completed his theological studies in St. Mary’s College (St. Marys, Kansas), and at Saint Louis University.
We remember with gratitude all that God has done through his 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.