A memorial Mass for Father James B. Guyer, SJ, will be celebrated at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, July 28, at St. Francis Xavier “College” Church in St. Louis. Father Guyer died July 11 in St. Louis. He was almost 84 years old, a Jesuit for 60 years and a priest for 50 years.
Jim Guyer was born in Denver on July 21, 1938, to James W. and Mary Austin Guyer. He began college at Colorado State in Fort Collins, but he transferred to Regis College (now University), graduating in 1960 with a degree in history, philosophy and economics. His experience at Regis, a Jesuit college, made a deep impression upon him, and he entered the Society of Jesus in Florissant on Sept. 1, 1961. He pronounced first vows on Sept. 2, 1963, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 27, 1972, at the same cathedral in Denver where he had been baptized. He professed final vows on Feb. 16, 1992, in Denver at the John Francis Regis Chapel at Regis University.
Father Guyer returned to Regis College in 1979 and soon became a professor of history there, with other assignments over the years: director of academic advising, rector of the Jesuit community, 2002-08, and province consultor, 2005-12. From 2013-18, he was an adjunct professor and a pastoral minister, with one year, 2014-15, as the Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province assistant for higher education. In January 2021, his health necessitated a move to the Jesuit infirmary in St. Louis.
Father Guyer loved being with people, especially if the occasion was a celebration. Although his lifelong love for Colorado made his final move to St. Louis difficult, he eagerly volunteered to be one of the first to move to the new community under construction at Delmar Garden Villas North; he wanted to help set the tone and welcome the rest of the Jesuits.
Father Guyer earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in modern European history and American history at Saint Louis University. He also did his theology studies at the Saint Louis University School of Divinity. He spent two years, 1972-74, in Kamakura, Japan, studying Japanese language, history and culture, with a special emphasis on Japan’s interaction with Jesuit and Western influences. His studies continued at Columbia University 1974-75 and Colorado University in Boulder 1976-79.
He is survived by his sisters, Barbara Jean Hainley, Mary Linda Reske, Margaret Ann Fuss and Agnes Teresa Austin-Guyer and their families. Burial will take place in Calvary Cemetery.