Former Gesu Pastor John Schlegel dies from pancreatic cancer at 72


The Rev. John Schlegel was appointed Gesu pastor in March 2014.

Natalie Wickman, Executive News Editor

Creighton University confirmed today that former Gesu Pastor the Rev. John Schlegel died Nov. 15, almost nine months after he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. He was 72 years old.

Schlegel passed away in Omaha, Nebraska, where he served as president of Creighton University for 11 years. He was appointed Gesu pastor in March 2014 after being dean of the College of Arts & Sciences and chaplain of the College of Health Sciences.

Creighton President the Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, a former Marquette resident Jesuit, said in an emailed statement to the Creighton community that Schlegel was a passionate supporter of the Catholic, Jesuit mission at educational institutions.

“We offer our prayers for Fr. Schlegel’s family, his Jesuit brothers, and all those on campus and in the community who mourn his passing,” Hendrickson said in the email. “Here and around the United States, he will be missed by many.”

Schlegel received his cancer diagnosis in late January and announced it in February with a letter to his congregation. He decided to use palliative treatment–no chemotherapy or radiation. He was an avid traveler after the diagnosis, visiting his Iowa hometown, Creighton and the Vatican in Rome, where he met Pope Francis.

“May we come together in support for one another during this time, as we remember and delight in the life of our friend and colleague,” Hendrickson said in the email.

A funeral service is being planned for St. John’s Parish on Creighton’s campus.