A memorial celebration of the life of Rev. Robert M. (Bob) McCown, S.J. will be held on Sunday, November 11, 2012, 9:00 a.m. beginning with Mass at Perkins Chapel, Southern Methodist University, 6001 Bishop Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75205, followed by a reception in his honor, 10:00 a.m. at the Neuhoff Catholic Center, corner of Airline and University Boulevard on the SMU campus.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist will be celebrated by Msgr. Milam Joseph with Rev. Bill Heute, S.J., Rector of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, concelebrating and giving remarks.
“We hope that many of his friends and fellow priests will join us for this remembrance. Fr. Bob contributed so much to both SMU and the City of Dallas—utilizing his special skills in photography and filmmaking at KERA-TV and teaching students at SMU, Ursuline Academy, and Jesuit,” Patricia Martin, former assistant to the Chaplain, said. “He really cared about the poor and encouraged students to go with him and bring food and clothes to people in what was then known as ‘little Mexico’. We began a ministry teaching guitar to children and families of that area and made many lasting friendships.”
Fr. Bob McCown, S. J. served as Chaplain to the Catholic Campus Ministry at SMU from 1974-1982. In addition, he lived at Jesuit Prep Rectory and was familiar at St. Rita’s Catholic Parish. In the early 1970’s he worked at KERA-TV in Dallas as a documentary film producer and taught photography at Ursuline Academy of Dallas. One student remembered a special project they worked on together.
“He began his career at KERA in Dallas in 197O because he taught me at Ursuline that year, and we made a film on race relations under the direction of Jim Lehr, later of the McNeil/Lehr Report,” Debbie Starr Lake, of Boise, Idaho, commented in his online memorial guest book.
Fr. McCown died on Friday, June 29, 2012, at Ignatius Residence in New Orleans, La. Interment was at the Jesuit Cemetery on the Spring Hill campus. He was born on September 1, 1925, in Mobile. He attended St. Mary's School and McGill Institute (now McGill-Toolen Catholic High School) in Mobile. During the Second World War he served as a deck officer in the United States Navy in the North Pacific Theater.
He attended Spring Hill College where he received a B.S. in 1951. After studying art in Paris and Madrid, he earned the B.A. and M.A. (Honors) in 1954 at Oxford University, where one of his examiners was the author, C.S. Lewis.
On September 22, 1954, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), studying for the priesthood in Grand Coteau, Louisiana at Spring Hill College and at St. Mary's College in St. Marys, Kansas. He was ordained to the Priesthood on June 12, 1963, in St. Joseph Chapel at Spring Hill College. He returned to Spring Hill to teach from 1966 to 1974. It was during that time that he began developing his skills as a filmmaker.
In 1974 he began working with PBS affiliate KERA in Dallas, producing documentaries on subjects related to education, religion and mental health issues while also serving as a chaplain at Southern Methodist University. He taught film making in Rio de Janeiro and Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA. His film, "The Jesuit Republic of Paraguay," a documentary on the ancient Jesuit missions of Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, received a Golden Eagle Award from C.I.N.E. as an outstanding American documentary film.
After his term as Catholic Chaplain for SMU, he was assigned as Associate Pastor at Immaculate Conception and worked at the Catholic Center of Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Fr. McCown had always wanted to be a missionary, and from 1991 to 1993 he taught literature in Hangzhou, China. In 1993 he returned to Alabama as Pastor of the Shrine of the Holy Cross in Daphne. From 2001 to 2007 he had several different pastoral assignments in New Mexico and Texas, including St. Vincent De Paul in Silver City, Sacred Heart in El Paso, Sacred Heart in Cloudcroft and St. Jude Mission in Alamogordo. In 2007 he moved to Ignatius Residence in New Orleans and continued to paint well into his retirement. In the fall of 2009 his art was shown at a gallery in New Orleans.
In an article for Our Sunday Visitor in June 13, 2010, Fr. McCown commented about his retirement activity, "What a pleasure and a delight to be able to do this. I feel very much fulfilled and happy. Being a Jesuit has allowed me to do anything and everything I have ever wished to do."
For additional information regarding the memorial event or the SMU Catholic Ministry scholarship set up in his honor, please contact Patricia Martin, 972-333-6722 or email .