Fr. Thomas F. Tobin, SJ (PAT) 85/56

Died in Patna on 31 July 2011

Born: Memphis, TN, USA on 15 March 1926
Entered: Milford, OH, USA on 8 August, 1954
Ordained: Patna on 19 March 1965      

Fr. Tom Tobin died quietly at XTTI at 1.15 p.m. He seemed to fade away slowly, and the last few years of his life was like a patient waiting for the call of the Lord. His voice grew weaker, and he was bedridden for quite a while. It was certainly not easy for a man who had led an active life as a Jesuit priest and missionary. In fact one outstanding quality of Tom was his keen interest in whatever work he was given. He joined the Society after several years of study and work for General Motors in the American mid-west. First he had to learn a little Latin by study at John Carroll University in Cleveland. After his initial studies in the States, he came to India for regency and theology, and given his background in mechanics and engineering, he was assigned to various mission stations where his talents could be put to good use.

Tom made it a point to bring new ideas to his various assignments. For example, his involvement with the mentally and physically challenged children at Barauni, where he devised a number of aids to help them speak and understand. Again he compiled a dictionary of land-related terms to help those who had to deal with land purchases and real estate. In all of this, he had the joy and opportunity of pastoral work. He served in Jamalpur, Sasaram, Basauni, Chakhni, Sitamarhi, Latonah, and Bettiah, usually connected with land work. His methodical mind found an outlet at Danapur RTC by putting the library there in order and at Phulwari helping with the solar energy projects. Obviously he was a man of wide interests and abilities. But in all of this, he brought his priestly and religious charism. In fact he continued to wear the cassock when almost all others had put it aside. He never criticized others, but kept to his own principles. He enjoyed the company of his Jesuit brethren, but it became increasingly difficult for him to speak and make himself understood. His failing health made a shift to XTTI necessary, and he was well cared for in his final years by the staff and students. It was appropriate that he died on the feast of St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits. He was indeed a dedicated Jesuit and devoted priest, and his memory will be cherished by all of us in Patna.

- Jerry Drinane, S.J.

(All members of Patna Province should offer one Mass for the repose of his soul, and XTTI Community two. His funeral will be on 01 August 2011, 03.30 p.m. at X.T.T.I.)

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