Dear Jesuit High School Community,
It is with much heartbreak and deep sadness that we inform you of the death of Richard (Dick) Gedrose '61 last night following a long and courageous battle with cancer.
Dick Gedrose was an institution at Jesuit High School since his arrival as a student more than six decades ago. He loyally, tirelessly, and with immense devotion and care served our community as a teacher, coach, athletic director, vice principal, principal, and president.
Dick graduated from Jesuit in 1961 and attended college at Gonzaga University where he earned a degree in education. Dick's first teaching job was at Brookings-Harbor High School, where he taught social studies. After two years in Brookings, he was hired at Regis High School in Stayton, Oregon, where he taught for another two years. Moving back to Portland, Dick spent one year at Jackson High School before taking a position at his alma mater in 1970. "I was really looking for a school where I could experience community and a sense of belonging, and I found it at Jesuit High School," said Dick.
For the next 35 years, Dick served Jesuit in almost every capacity. In addition to teaching history from 1970 to 1974, he was an assistant football coach and head track coach. From 1975 until 1983, he served as athletic director and vice principal. In the spring of 1983, Dick became principal. He assumed the role of president in 1998 until his retirement in 2005.
Throughout his long tenure as teacher, coach and administrator, Dick always strove to achieve what he saw as the school's priorities - what was best for the students. A paragon of commitment and integrity, he had the ability to make decisions with grace and compassion. He watched Jesuit evolve and grow over the years, putting his entire heart and soul into tireless devotion to Jesuit's mission and to its students and fostering a dedication to excellence.
Fr. Larry Robinson, S.J. emphasized Dick's enduring and steadfast commitment to Jesuit in an article he wrote about Dick in the Age Quod Agis magazine in 2005: "...as a loving husband, father and grandfather, he became a model, a prototype of the Jesuits' companion in mission, as 'Jesuit' as any person who ever worked in this apostolate. And every step of the way, 'Age Quod Agis.'"
Recently, when asked about significant memories from his time at Jesuit, Dick shared three key events. First, he mentioned his help in writing the Profile of a Jesuit Graduate at Graduation. As the presence of Jesuits at the school declined in the 1980s, Jesuit needed to clarify its goals and objectives as a Catholic, Jesuit high school. Since then, every Jesuit student has studied the Profile and is expected to live up to its expectations.
Second, Dick faced the challenge of keeping the school a "Jesuit" and "Catholic" high school as most new employees were lay faculty, not Jesuit priests. Under his direction, Jesuit's Campus Ministry and Christian Service departments became central parts of the school's mission.
Third, Dick, along with Fr. Bill Hayes, S.J. and others, was instrumental in orchestrating Jesuit's transition from an all-boys school of 37 years to a co-educational environment in 1993. At the time, the change was fraught with controversy and required patience and commitment. Today, it is impossible to imagine Jesuit without young women.
Please see below for videos of Dick Gedrose from 2012 and 2021 and a photo gallery.
In 1992, Dick received the Alumnus of the Year Award from Jesuit High School, and in 1997 Dick and Gloria, his wife of 55 years, were honored with the St. Peter Canisius Award, Jesuit's most prestigious recognition. In 2005, Dick received the John Traynor Award from the Society of Jesus for his outstanding service in the Jesuit apostolate by a layperson and the Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. Award from Jesuit High School to honor his long service with the school. He was inducted into Jesuit's Hall of Fame in 2012 in recognition of his extraordinary career at Jesuit High School.
Since he retired from Jesuit in 2005, Dick has been a mentor to countless coaches, teachers and administrators. Generations of Jesuit community members love, admire, and cherish what he has done for so many in the Jesuit community through the years.
There will be a public memorial service to celebrate the life of Dick Gedrose '61 on Tuesday, August 10 at 2:00 pm in Knight Gym on the Jesuit High School campus.
Father John Whitney, S.J. will be the presider at this Catholic Mass of the Resurrection. All are welcome. There will be a reception following Mass in Hayes Plaza. By request of the Gedrose Family, please wear a mask at this service. Thank you for honoring this request.
Condolences can be sent to Gloria Gedrose at the following address:
4024 SE Crystal Springs Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May he now rest in peace. Amen.
Peace. Gratitude. AMDG.
Thomas D. Arndorfer
"I've often said that in terms of my life, the three most important things in my life have been my faith, my family, and Jesuit High School." - Dick Gedrose, JHS Hall of Fame Induction Video 2012
Click the image below to view Dick Gedrose's Jesuit Hall of Fame induction tribute.
Click the image below to hear Dick Gedrose speak to the importance of Friday morning Mass at Jesuit.