Fr. Matthew Kohmescher, SM
Father Matthew Kohmescher, SM, died in the service of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the 86th year of his age and the68th year of his religious profession.Fr. Matt was born on October 1, 1921, one of six children of Louis and Theresa (Enneking) Kohmescher. He described his family as GÇ£solidly religiousGÇ¥ and one that cherished vocations but did not force them. His father died when he was in third grade.He attended elementary school at Saints Peter and Paul in Norwood, Ohio, and St. Francis de Sales Latin School in Cincinnati, and high school at Purcell High School (nowPurcell Marian) in Cincinnati. Fr. Matt said his sixth grade teacher, Sr. Mary Damien, CPPS, and his association with Marianist Fr. John Finke at Purcell influenced his religious vocation.In 1938, Fr. Matt entered the novitiate of the Society of Mary at Mount St. John in Dayton. He professed first vows in 1939 and perpetual vows in 1943 at Mount St. John.Fr. Matt received a bachelorGÇÖs degree in philosophy from the University of Dayton in 1942 and taught for three years at North Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Chaminade High School in Mineola, N.Y. In 1945, he pursued his longtime ambition ofbecoming a priest and entered the Marianist seminary at Saint Meinrad in Indiana. A year later he transferred to the Marianist seminary at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where he was ordained in 1948. Fr. Matt received a bachelorGÇÖs degree (1948), licentiate (1949) and doctorate (1950) of sacred theology from the University of Fribourg.He returned to the United States in 1950 and for the next two years taught religion and Latin and served as chaplain at the postulate at Mount St. John. From 1952 to 1954, he was a chaplain, guidance counselor and teacher at St. Joseph High School in Cleveland.Fr. Matt returned to Mount St. John in 1954 as master of scholastics and taught religion and Latin for the next five years.In 1956, he earned a masterGÇÖs degree in education from Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve). Fr. Matt spent the 1959-1960 school year teaching at Chaminade High School in Dayton and teaching night school at the University of Dayton.In 1960, Fr. Matt became associate dean in the University of Dayton College of Arts and Sciences and taught theology. Two years later, he added the role of chairman of theReligious Studies department to his dutiesGÇö a position he would hold for the next 20 years.Fr. Matt helped shape and expand the schoolGÇÖs religious studies program during a time of great transition in the Church, which was prompted by Vatican II. The first Protestant andlay people to teach theology at UD were hired under his watch. Upon his retirement as department chair in 1983, Fr. Matt continued to teach full time at UD until 1992. Fr. Matt remained a friendly, familiar face on campus until his cancer diagnosis in December 2006. In addition to teaching part time, he became the unofficial GÇ£UD greeterGÇ¥and helped welcome thousands of prospective students and their families. Students fondly referred to him as GÇ£Fr. BeanieGÇ¥ because of his trademark UD red and blue skull cap, and GÇ£Fr. FuzzyGÇ¥ in reference to the GÇ£Fuzzy Pledge,GÇ¥ which he encouragedeveryone to invoke. A GÇ£fuzzy,GÇ¥ according to Fr. Matt, was a way to make the world a better place through a smile, gesture or helpful act.Fr. Matt was known as the grandfather of Founders Hall on campus. He often visited with students and invited them to the Marianist community house. The last 20 years of his ministry also included serving at high school retreats, as chaplain to a faith group and work in various parishes, including Our Lady of Mercy in Dayton,where he was a permanent substitute. Fr. Matt was the author of two books: GÇ£Catholicism TodayGÇ¥ and GÇ£Good Morality is Like Good Cooking: And Other Suggestions for Right Living.GÇ¥ He once wrote that hisphilosophy of life included three points: 1.) Life is to be enjoyed; 2.) Life (and lifeGÇÖs gifts) is to be shared; and 3.) Life is to be celebrated. He requested that his funeral be acelebration of his presence because GÇ£to remember, is to make present.GÇ¥Information obtained from www.marianist.com.