Jesuit Father John P. McBride died on Oct. 20, 2017. He was 92, a member of the Society of Jesus for 65 years, and an ordained priest for 56 years.
He was a veteran of the 75th Infantry Division during WWII who saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and helped in the liberation of France before becoming a teacher, pastor, and chaplain throughout the Northwest.
Fr. McBride was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on March 23, 1925, and as a child moved with his family to British Columbia to help run a family ranch. Following high school and his return to the U.S., he was drafted into the U.S. Army and shipped overseas in 1944.
After his discharge from the Army, he attended Gonzaga University from 1946-49, received a B.A. in economics, and served as a battalion commander in the newly established ROTC program there. Upon graduation, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant and assigned to active duty in Korea with the 7th Calvary. He was wounded by a mortar shell and sent to Japan to recover.
When the Korean conflict ended, Senator Warren Magnuson requested Fr. McBride’s service as his military aide, which Fr. McBride did for 30 days. It was during the war and conflict in Europe and Asia, respectively, that Fr. McBride felt the strong calling to the priesthood. He was granted a quick discharge so that he could start the long retreat at the Jesuit Novitiate in Sheridan, Oregon, in 1952. He went back to Gonzaga for philosophy studies from 1955-58 and went on to receive his master’s in theology from Regis College, Toronto, 1958-62.
He was ordained a priest in 1961 and served in parishes from Alaska to Oregon as well as chaplain for 20 years at federal penitentiaries at McNeil Island, Washington; Lompoc, California; and Sheridan, Oregon. He then spent 11 years as chaplain at Providence Medical Center in Portland, 1992-2003, before serving as pastoral minister at the Colombiere Jesuit Community in Portland until 2008.