A memorial Mass for Father James M. Short, SJ, was celebrated May 6 at St. Ignatius Hall at Garden Villas North in Florissant. Father Short died April 29 in Florissant. He was 98 years old, a Jesuit for 74 years and a priest for 61 years.
Jim Short was born in Columbus, Ohio, on March 22, 1925, to James M. and Erma Gottman Short, who preceded him death. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force from June 1943 through December 1945, he began studies at Saint Louis University in 1946. He entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) on Aug. 15, 1948, and pronounced first vows on Aug. 22, 1950. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary’s College in Kansas on June 15, 1961.
Father Short earned a bachelor’s degree, a licentiate in philosophy and a master’s degree in education and philosophy, all from Saint Louis University. He also earned a licentiate in sacred theology at St. Mary’s College.
Father Short began his apostolic service at Rockhurst High School in Kansas City, Missouri, where he taught mathematics before moving to Kapaun High School in Wichita, Kansas, again teaching math and physics, 1956-58.
Following the completion of a licentiate in canon law from the Gregorian University in Rome, Father Short was missioned to Belize as chancellor of the diocese, a service he performed from 1965-71. In 1971, he was appointed regional superior of the Jesuits’ Belize Mission and president of St. John’s College in Belize City. After six years, he returned to work as the diocesan chancellor and as a missionary, 1977-79.
His time in Belize was interrupted by a two-year assignment as a floor superior of the Jesuit community at Fusz Memorial in St. Louis (1979-81), but he returned to Belize as pastor in Dangriga (1981-89). After a sabbatical (1989-90), he returned to Belize to serve as pastor of St. Martin de Porres in Belize City and director of the retreat center (1990-2000), associate pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish in Punta Gorda (2000-01), and then back to St. Martin’s as director of Trinidad Farms and in-country coordinator for the Jesuit Volunteers (2001-05).
Father Short’s many years of dedicated ministry in Belize came to an end when he was assigned to Jesuit Hall in St. Louis for sabbatical and medical leave in 2005. In 2007, he began six years of residence at the Bellarmine House of Studies as the resident “wisdom figure” for the scholastics and young brothers. In 2013, he returned to Jesuit Hall, where he served in pastoral ministry until declining health interfered. He moved to St. Ignatius Hall with the Jesuit community in January.
Father Short loved people and gave his full attention to the person in front of him. Countless parishioners, retreatants and fellow Jesuits came to know a merciful and compassionate God through him.
He was preceded in death by his siblings Joan, William, Richard, Laurence and John. He is survived by his brother Charles (Jeanne) and his sister Joyce Short, as well as by nieces and nephews. Father Short donated his body to science.