Cover photo for Fr. George J. Dumias SJ's Obituary
Fr. George J. Dumias SJ Profile Photo
1936 Fr. George 2024

Fr. George J. Dumias SJ

January 14, 1936 — March 4, 2024


 

GEORGE J DUMAIS SJ

NATUS  14   JAN.  1936

INGRESSUS 7 SEP.   1958

OBIT  4   MAR.  2024

R.I.P.


Father George Dumais SJ

In Loving Memory of Father George Dumais SJ The remarkable 88 years of Father George Dumais came to a peaceful end on the beautiful sunny morning of March 4, 2024 in Hospice Care at Sacred Heart Jesuit Retirement Centre in Los Gatos, California, with his niece and her husband at his side. His Parkinson's disease made his mobility more and more difficult over the past few years, but he was never one to let things slow him down. Unfortunately, he fell and broke his hip February 29th, had surgery and sadly did not recover. He was as strong-willed in death as he was in life.

Father Dumais was born and raised on a farm in Langley, BC, Canada with his three siblings. After graduating high school, he went on to attend Seattle University Washington. His initial dream was to become an architect. A multi-day retreat his sophomore year changed all that. He joined the Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus following graduation and received a Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University Spokane. His early focus became missionary work in Africa and India. In India, he worked alongside Mother Teresa's Sisters of Charity teaching orphans and helping the sick and impoverished. Unfortunately, extreme illness cut his mission work short. On June 10, 1971, Father Dumais was ordained as a Jesuit in Langley. He obtained a Theology Degree from Regis College in Toronto, Ontario, a master’s degree in French from Middlebury, Vermont and another degree in Latin.

Meeting Jean Vanier, the founder of L'Arche, shaped the future direction of Father Dumais's work. He embraced the L'Arche philosophy to integrate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into society, providing them with a stable and loving community. He spent time in France to further his education and learn more about living and working with the disabled. In 1973, Father Dumais moved to Missoula to teach French at the Catholic high school and start his first group home based on the L'Arche philosophy. His home grew as a residence for six disabled men in his first year in Missoula. Several years later, he opened a second home for women but was unable to retain it given the significant demands of teaching and overseeing two homes.

His dedication to his 'Gentlemen', as he fondly called them, was complete and profound. Under his disciplined and loving care, the 'Gents' thrived, becoming familiar and welcome faces in the Missoula community. They worked, traveled and enjoyed life with Father Dumais. In addition to his work at his home and teaching, he worked tirelessly administering to the sick, performing weddings, baptisms and funerals, fundraising and much more.

Father Dumais was many facetted. He was a gourmet cook hosting fabulous dinners that helped raise funds for the school and the home, an accomplished artist, lover of the arts, voracious reader, gardener, world traveler, biker and hiker. His favorite pastime was walking and exploring solo, with his 'Gents' or anyone willing to go the distance. He was a very impressive 'flaneur' even in his aging years. To know Father Dumais was to walk with him tirelessly! A perfect day off was to set out for a walk with a book tucked under his arm, looking for the perfect spot to soak up the sun, drink a good coffee with thick cream and indulge in a decadent dessert. Maybe chat with an old friend or a new acquaintance or maybe even take a little nap! He loved roaming the streets of Vancouver, BC on his time off. France was a second home with the French family that became dear to him. He loved to laugh and have fun. Full days and a full life!

After 40 years in the classrooms of Loyola Sacred Heart High School, he retired from teaching. A few years later, he decided it was a good time to close his group home. Jim Ray was working at a hospital and living on his own and Bill Thane was moved to L'Arche Noah Sealth of Seattle where he still resides. Retirement was around the corner living in the Cardinal Bea House, Spokane, Washington and then on to Sacred Heart Los Gatos, California to live in the Jesuit retirement communities.

Father Dumais was a champion of the marginalized and extraordinarily committed to the never-ending mission of education. His legacy of living life for others will remain embedded in the hearts and minds of those of us lucky enough to call him family, friend, teacher or colleague. He has taught us to be a better version of ourselves and changed the trajectory of our lives. We bid farewell to a true servant of humanity. Rest in peace, good and faithful servant of God and others! We love you and you will be missed but never forgotten!

Father Dumais is survived by his remaining 'Gents': Bill Thane and Jim Ray; numerous godchildren; his brother, Ernest Dumais (Cheryl) and sister, Juliet Slobodzian (Pat); nieces: Diane Widas (Brian), Judy Aitken (Scott), Shelly Dumais, Marcie Dumais; nephews: David Widas (Mary), Barry Widas (Kim); three great-nieces and three-great nephews; one great-great-niece and address books full of people that considered him family!

He was predeceased by his 'Gents': Kenny Ostrom, Jim Vandeburg, James Dawes; his eldest sister, Rose Widas (Joe) and his mother and father, Cecile and Albert Dumais.

A special thank you to the staff of the Care Unit at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Retirement Centre, the Hospice Care Nurses, the residing Jesuits and all those who reached out in his final days. You helped Father Dumais die with friendship, dignity and grace.

A Vigil will be held Tuesday, April 2nd at 7:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier Church, 420 W Pine Street, Missoula, Montana. A Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, April 3rd at 10:25 a.m. at St. Anthony Church, 217 Tremont Street, Missoula, Montana. Burial: Date TBD - St. Michael Cemetery, Spokane, Washington.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to: Missoula Catholic Schools Foundation "Father Dumais Scholarship Fund", 300 Edith Street, Missoula, MT 59801. Contact is Stephanie Topp at (406) 541-2858 or stephanie.topp@mcsmt.org.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Fr. George J. Dumias SJ, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Mass

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

10:15 - 11:45 am (Mountain time)

Live stream of the Mass will start at 10:25 a.m.

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Reception

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

St Francis Xavier Catholic Church

420 W Pine St, Missoula, MT 59802

The reception will follow the Mass, and will be held at St. Francis Xavior Catholic Church

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