A memorial Mass for Deacon Thomas F. Jurek was celebrated Jan. 27 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Deacon Jurek died Jan. 19 in Grand Rapids at age 71.
Born in Chicago, Deacon Jurek was ordained a permanent deacon in St. Louis in 1994 by Cardinal Justin Rigali. He was assigned to Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Spanish Lake and served until moving to the Diocese of Grand Rapids in 1995. He served in that diocese at Holy Name of Jesus, Basilica of St. Adalbert and St. James parishes. He also served at McAuley Place in Muskegon, Michigan, as chaplain. His service included assisting at Mass, preaching, Communion ministry, pro-life ministry and media ministry. He retired from active status in 2018.
Deacon Jurek earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana, in 1971. He was a rock and roll disc jockey in Lafayette, Indiana, and Paducah, Kentucky, and a program producer in Chicago. He was the owner of three radio stations in Indiana and two in Wisconsin before selling them in 1985. Deacon Jurek also did commercial voice work for La-Z-Boy, Jellystone Park and two dozen other advertisers.
He worked in development and public relations for Catholic Services for Children & Youth/Child Center in St. Louis from 1985-95. He also was a program producer, announcer and commercial voice at several stations in St. Louis from 1985-95. Deacon Jurek was involved as a producer of the TV Mass on KTVI in St. Louis and produced a video, “Adoption, the Option of Love” in 1983. His recorded voice was heard on the tram ride tour at Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois.
Deacon Jurek served as director of communications for the Diocese of Grand Rapids from 1995-97. He later worked as a pre-arrangement funeral counselor, in insurance sales, as a nursing home chaplain, community benefits officer, mission and ethics director and manager of a TV station in Grand Rapids. He retired in 2011.
His wife, Rosemarie Jurek, died in 2015. Survivors include his daughters Ann-Marie and Sarah.