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Friends and family gathered on July 25 at Thomas Aquinas College , California, to pay their respects to Dr. John W. “Jack” Neumayr, a beloved founder, tutor, and governor who died on July 4. The day was marked by prayer, friendship, and reminiscing late into the afternoon about Dr. Neumayr’s singular character and accomplishments.

That morning Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O. Praem. (’94) offered a Solemn High Requiem Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel, assisted by Rev. Joseph (Jeremy ’03) Hudson, O.S.B., and head chaplain Rev. Paul Raftery, O.P. The College choir exalted the liturgy with exquisite renditions of its petitionary chants and consoling motets. As grand as the ancient liturgy was, it did not overwhelm: Like Dr. Neumayr himself, it shone with a firm but quiet light.

Requiem Mass
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr
  • Funeral of Dr. John W. Neumayr

Mary Bridget (’86), the eldest of the Neumayr children, delivered the first eulogy. “The reason our dad was such a fixed point, for us and for others, was, perhaps more than anything else, that he was a person of deep faith. He was a daily communicant for much of his life and could frequently be found in the chapel after Mass,” she reflected. “Drawing on his deep faith, he could analyze the most fundamental and deep questions and provide sound, prudent advice on the most challenging topics. While he had such a full life, and one that was so well-lived, he never lost sight of our ultimate goal of being with God in the next world.”

It was this deep faith, observed the second eulogist, TAC tutor Dr. Thomas J. Kaiser (’75), that not only led Dr. Neumayr to help found the College, but also attracted its first students. “Many of my friends and relatives had gone to Catholic colleges and lost their faith, so my parents and I were wondering whether going to college was a good idea at all,” recalled Dr. Kaiser. “But Dr. Neumayr was invited to come and talk about the College. He spoke about what true Catholic liberal education is, and how faith can illumine reason. … After hearing him speak, I thought that although I didn’t really know much about the program at Thomas Aquinas College, I could learn something from him. I not only became a member of the first class, I have been teaching at the College for 40 years, So, it’s no exaggeration to say that meeting Dr. Neumayr changed my life.”

With the conclusion of the Requiem Mass, the Neumayrs and their fellow congregants escorted the casket to the waiting hearse, accompanied by the plaintive tones of bagpipes played by Thomas Neumayr, one of 12 grandchildren. From there, the casket was taken to Pearce Brothers Cemetery in nearby Santa Paula for the Rite of Burial. When Fr. Sebastian had blessed the gravesite, Mrs. Neumayr and her children laid their husband and father to rest, to the gentle sounds of plainchant and birdsong.

Interment
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr
  • Interment of Dr. John B. Neumayr

At his request, Dr. Neumayr was interred beside his old friends and College co-founders, Dr. Ronald McArthur and Marcus Berquist, in a tranquil plot cooled in the evening by the shadows of a nearby orchard. As family friend and the College’s director of special projects, Anne (Schaeffer ’81) Forsyth, later said, “When that last trumpet sounds, what a celebration there will be at our little cemetery in Santa Paula, where friends and collaborators, who brought the College to life and sustained it, will find each other again and together enter into the heavenly Jerusalem.”

Back on campus, the College hosted a luncheon for the Neumayr family in St. Joseph Commons, which, though filled wall to wall, was nevertheless suffused with quiet and calm. Many of the Neumayr children addressed the gathering with memories of their father. Daughter Catherine Neumayr spoke of his docility in learning from the Angelic Doctor. “Some of my treasured memories are coming home late from sports, and there would be my dad with the Summa in front of him, preparing for classes the next day,” she remarked. “I remember thinking, ‘How can he possibly have anything left to learn?’ There were notes in every margin! But he would be so engrossed.”

Reception
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons
  • Reception for Dr. Neumayr in St. Joseph Commons

Some of Dr. Neumayr’s friends of many years also shared memories. Thomas Susanka, a student from the College’s early days as well as its emeritus director of gift planning, recalled a recent conversation with Dr. Neumayr “which, if I had had it earlier in my life, would have made me a better man. Jack opened his heart to meditating on what life would be like in heaven: the perfection of our knowledge of God in His perfection; the fulfillment of all that is not yet seen but which our faith now hopes for; and the unending peace in the company of those people who we loved and who God has loved.”

Added Mr. Susanka — echoing the thoughts of so many who knew Dr. Neumayr, “he was a father, a guide, and a saint to me.”