July 25, 2014

Brian Kunderman

Billikens Mourn the Loss of Eugene Grollmes, S.J.

Saint Louis University mourns the loss of longtime team chaplain Eugene Grollmes, S.J., who died Wednesday, July 23. He was 82 and a Jesuit for nearly 63 years.

A SLU graduate, Father Grollmes was named the program's first-ever team chaplain in 1990. As chaplain of the department of athletics, Father Grollmes helped mentor thousands of Billiken student-athletes by providing counseling, assisting in their academic development and providing a Jesuit presence.

"Father Grollmes was a treasure to our department and all of Saint Louis University," said Chris May, director of athletics. "You will not find a more passionate Billiken fan. He truly was a remarkable human being, someone who mentored many Billiken student-athletes and staff during his time here. Father Grollmes will be sorely missed."

When the department of athletics honored Father Grollmes at a men's basketball game during the 2012-13 season, he mentioned his favorite memories of men's basketball came during his undergraduate days. He specifically enjoyed watching his favorite coach, Eddie Hickey, lead the team against Oklahoma State's Henry Iba in Missouri Valley Conference play. Father Grollmes' all-time favorite players included Ed Macauley and Bob Ferry.

Affectionately known by many Billiken student-athletes and staff as simply "Father G," Father Grollmes was a recognizable figure at Billiken basketball games in his seat on the end of the Billiken bench. In addition, he would join the team in the locker room for the post-game talk.

Born in Seneca, Kansas. in 1931, Father Grollmes entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Missouri., in 1951. He completed a B.A. in philosophy at Saint Louis University in 1957. After teaching history at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri, from 1958 to 1960, he returned to SLU where he earned a master's in American and European history. He completed theology studies at St. Mary's College in Kansas, where he was ordained to the priesthood on June 16, 1964. Following his tertianship in Decatur, Illinois, Father Grollmes received a doctoral degree in philosophy and the history of education from Boston College in 1969.

After serving as dean of studies at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, from 1970 to 1974, he became the assistant dean of studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at SLU, a position he held for 20 years.

Father Grollmes was an internationally known author of more than 25 books, magazine articles, book reviews and more than 1,500 poems. He authored At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington D.C.: Between the Lines, a book of poetry inspired by his 1982 visit to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial.

He is survived by a nephew, Roger Haug, of Mesa, Arizona.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, July 28, at St. Francis Xavier College Church, followed by a funeral Mass at 7 p.m. Burial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 29, at Calvary Cemetery.

Eugene Grollmes, S.J.
Higher purpose. Greater good.
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