Monsignor James Lavin, 1918-2012
Monsignor James Lavin, who devoted his life to serving the University of St. Thomas community, died today (Sept. 17) at the Little Sisters of the Poor residence near downtown St. Paul. He was 93.
Lavin had suffered from congestive heart failure and died of natural causes at the end of an early-morning Mass celebrated in his room by Father Joseph Johnson, pastor of Holy Family parish in St. Louis Park. "We got to the end of Mass," Johnson recalled. "I said, 'Go in peace,' and he breathed his last."
Arrangements are pending, but Lavin's funeral is expected to be held later this week in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas on campus or in the Cathedral of St. Paul.
"Monsignor Lavin was one of the most beloved figures in the history of St. Thomas," said Father Dennis Dease, president of St. Thomas. "His paramount concern was always purely and simply for the welfare of students. They always knew that they could come to him with problems large and small, and he provided common-sense counsel in a soft-spoken but firm voice. He exemplified total dedication. We shall not soon forget him."
Lavin arrived at St. Thomas in 1936 as an undergraduate student and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English in 1940. He returned to campus in 1946 after his ordination and taught religion until 1967, when he became an academic counselor. He went to work for the St. Thomas Alumni Association in 1988 as a special assistant to the president and a university ambassador who attended countless events, funerals, weddings and baptisms.
Known widely as "Scooter" by his college friends, he lived in Ireland Hall as an undergraduate from 1936 to 1940 and as a faculty member and administrator from 1946 to 2002. He began to offer peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, also known as "Lavin Burgers," in 1967 to residence hall students in the evenings. Scooter’s restaurant in the Anderson Student Center carries his name, as does an award for volunteer service to the Alumni Association.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Mons. James Lavin, RIP
The world lost a very good priest. I lost a very good teacher and a very good friend. RIP Mons. Lavin.