Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


the Inland Register

(From the September 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Connie F. Byrne

Connie F. Byrne, wife of Deacon John Byrne, died Aug. 13 at Hospice House South in Spokane from complications following a stroke. She was 81 years old.

The funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 25 at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Spokane. Inurnment was the next day at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Born Nov. 18, 1933, in Spokane to Charles and Irene (Spain) Proell, she grew up in Coeur díAlene, Idaho. Connie graduated from Holy Names College in 1956 with a degree in education. Her 30 years as an elementary school teacher took her from Moses Lake, Wash., to The Bronx, New York City, and back to Spokane, where she excelled as a special reading teacher at numerous schools in District 81.

Connie was a longtime member of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, where she was a choir member for many years and at one time taught religious education. She also served as a board member of Healing the Children NW and had shared of her time and talents volunteering with the Spokane AIDS Network.

Connie loved to travel and enjoyed many adventures throughout the United States, Europe and Canada. Her fondest trips, however, were those to visit her husbandís family in his homeland of Ireland.

Connie will be especially remembered as a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend.

She is survived by John, her husband of 50 years; daughter Nona (Derek) Brown; grandchildren Nicholas and Ryan Black, Caitlin (Ray) White, Madison and Braeden Brown; great-grandchildren Ellie, Caileigh and Silas White and numerous cousins, in-laws, nieces and nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Our Lady of Fatima Youth Program, Second Harvest Spokane, or a charity of the donorís choice.

Brother Michael J. Richards SJ

Jesuit Brother Mike Richards died Aug. 22 at the Regis Jesuit Community in Spokane. He was 75 years old.

A vigil service was held Sept. 4 in the Jesuit House Chapel on the campus of Gonzaga University. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day. Inurnment was Sept. 6 at Mt. St. Michaelís Cemetery.

The oldest of 10, Michael Joseph Richards was born Sept. 3, 1939, in Spokane to Homer and Augusta (Lasz) Richards. He grew up in Spokane and graduated from Gonzaga Preparatory in 1958.

Mike enlisted in the U.S. Navy (through a special program) while still in his junior year of high school. He proudly served from 1958 to 1961 aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard.

Following his active duty, Mike entered the Jesuit Novitiate for Brothers at Florissant, Mo., in March 1961. He took first vows there in September 1963 and began a long and fruitful life of service to the Jesuits, the Church, and to his neighbor in need.

Brother Mike returned to Spokane in 1963 to maintain the buildings and grounds at Mt. St. Michaels; he helped fix furnaces, stopped water leaks, mowed the grass, and kept the many cars and trucks they had on the road. In 1971 he moved to Portland and the Loyola Renewal Center, where he plied these same skills; six years later he enrolled in a two year accounting program at Portland Community College. From 1980 to 1990 Brother Mike was the plant and vehicle person for Jesuit High School in Portland.

Following a renewal year at Gonzaga University he worked at St. Aloysius Parish in both maintenance and pastoral care. In 1995 he moved to Tacoma and worked 10 years at St. Leoís Food Connection; this allowed him much interaction with the poor and marginalized of western Washington, for which he was grateful. The final 10 years of his life and ministry was in Spokane at the Regis Community as a maintenance man and assistant to the Religious Superior.

The cancer that was in remission for five years reappeared the past year and spread throughout his body; while getting weaker physically he stayed strong spiritually. He was a model of service to others and a man deeply committed to his faith.

Brother Mike is survived by three sisters: Frances (Brad) Haywood, Karen (Roger) DeShaw, and Cathy (Steve) Rickerson; and five brothers: Ray (Kyong-Suk), Dave (Sandee), Jerry (Ellie), Larry (Carol) and Tim (Peggy). He was preceded in death by his brother Jim.

Contributions in honor of Brother Michael Richards may be sent to: The Aged / Infirmed Jesuit Trust Fund, c/o The Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286, or to the charity of the donorís choice.

(IR photo: Brad Reynolds SJ)

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