Died 5 January 2020
Jesuit Brother Henry C. Kuhn died on Jan. 5, 2020, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Michigan. He was 85 years old. May he rest in peace.
Br. Kuhn was born on Feb. 19, 1934, in Pittsburgh. After a six-month postulancy, Br. Kuhn entered the former Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus on Aug. 13, 1955, at Milford, Ohio. He took final vows on Aug. 15, 1965, in Cleveland.
Before entering the Society, Br. Kuhn was a salesman for the Kuhn Poultry Company and loved riding his motorcycle. While in the Society, he earned a diploma in horticulture from the National Landscape Institute of Los Angeles (1958), as well as several certificates in basic electronics engineering from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also spent one semester at the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, studying automobile design.
After his novitiate, Br. Kuhn was a Junior Brother and an assistant gardener at Milford (1957-1960). He then was the superintendent of grounds at Colombiere Center (1960-1964) and St. Stanislaus House of Retreats (now named "Jesuit Retreat Center") in Parma (1964-1965 and 1966-1970). Br. Kuhn then returned to Colombiere as minister (1970-1978) before becoming the assistant superintendent (1978-1979) and superintendent of grounds at Walsh Jesuit High School (1980-1989).
After a sabbatical, Br. Kuhn turned his attention from buildings and grounds to full-time care of his Jesuit brethren. He became the minister and socius to the novice director at Loyola House Jesuit Novitiate in Berkley, Michigan (1990-1997) before becoming minister at Lansing-Reilly Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit Mercy (1997-2009). After a sabbatical, Br. Kuhn moved to Colombiere Center and performed community service (2010-2019).
Although Br. Kuhn had a great desire to serve in the missions and even spent a year in the Patna Mission studying Hindi in Bettiah, India (1965-1966), his gifts and temperament were better suited for use in the former Detroit Province.
Br. Kuhn worked at Colombiere before it was completed. He helped clear the fields of (large) rocks and planted pine trees and gardens on the grounds. While he was at Colombiere, he was responsible for negotiating a deal (originally $1 per year) between the sheriff department and Colombiere. The sheriffs wanted a convenient office location and Br. Kuhn wanted them on the grounds to help keep Colombiere safe (as the sheriffs would drive around the campus/grounds). Sixty years later, the Springfield Township sheriff department still has a substation at Colombiere.
In addition to horticulture, Br. Kuhn was willing to do whatever was needed. At Walsh, in addition to being superintendent of grounds, Br. Kuhn was in charge of the school buses and daily drove a bus. No matter where Br. Kuhn was missioned, he always cared about the physical plant and necessary details but cared more about the people he dealt with. When he was minister at the Novitiate, Br. Kuhn provided a great example of who a Jesuit Brother is—especially how they care for others. An example of this is how Br. Kuhn endeared the novices to him through his weekly purchase of doughnuts.
Br. Kuhn was practical, down-to-earth, and honest. He always told the truth and "told it like it was." This attitude helped others to quickly trust and respect him. He could deal well with whoever he encountered: novices, workmen, contractors, salesmen, suppliers, etc. He would befriend workmen at whatever institution he was at. This meant that he often got immediate help to solve problems. It also endeared him to the staff and community at Colombiere.
Br. Kuhn was devoted to his family—both his birth family and his Jesuit family. Br. Kuhn also enjoyed eating and enjoyed seeking out "dives" that had great food.