From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Father Edward Kowrach: pastor, author, archivist, psychologist

the Inland Register

(From the March 1, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Edward Kowrach, long-time archivist for the Diocese of Spokane, died Feb. 11 in Spokane. He was 89 years old and had been a priest for 62 of those years.

The vigil was the evening of Feb. 14. The funeral Mass was celebrated the next morning. Both took place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Father Kowrach was born in Grand Rapids, Mich., but was ordained for the Spokane Diocese in 1938.

Besides his priestly studies Father Kowrach was also a licensed clinical psychologist. He was the chaplain and chief clinical psychologist at Eastern Washington State Hospital for 22 years, and full-time chaplain at Lakeland Village in Medical Lake from 1969-73.

As a priest he served as curate at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, pastor of St. Rose of Lima in Cheney, and was the first pastor of St. Anne Parish, Medical Lake, where he ministered from 1957-72.

He spent time as a chaplain and religion teacher at Marycliff High School in Spokane.

After retiring in 1973 Father Kowrach devoted himself extensively to Northwest history. He spent hours researching and translating early accounts of missionary activity and the fledgling Church in the area. Several of these volumes were published by Ye Galleon Press of Fairfield, Wash.

During his career he published magazine articles on a variety of topics, from ministry among the developmentally impaired and mentally ill to histories of ministerial activity.

In October 1980 Bishop Lawrence Welsh named Father Kowrach the diocese’s official archivist. Father Kowrach described the archives, a series of vaulted rooms in the basement of what is now the Catholic Pastoral Center, as “a depository for the care, accumulation and preservation of historical records in danger of being scattered or destroyed.”

For several years he wrote the “From the Archives” column for the Inland Register, chronicling events great and small from the history of the diocese, mined for the archives’ records and back issues of the IR. Faced with technological challenges like new photocopiers, he was never hesitant or embarrassed to ask for help; faced with a request for information from his storerooms, he was never hesitant to begin looking.

His long list of memberships included the Washington Governor’s Interfaith Advisory Committee; the American Psychological Association; the Polish Catholic History Association; and the American Catholic Historical Society.


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