Fr. Eugene (Raymond) Esch, O.S.B., monk of the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome, Idaho died Thursday, March 2, 2017. Fr. Eugene was 89 years old. He was born January 31, 1928 in Mt. Angel, Oregon, son of Frank and Hilda Esch, and had three brothers, Elmer, Clarence, and Raphael, all deceased.
His grade and high school years were in Mt. Angel until 1945 when he entered Mt. Angel Seminary. He entered Mt. Angel Abbey in 1948, made monastic profession in 1949 and was ordained a priest in 1957.
Father Eugene earned a MA in mathematics from Santa Clara University in 1969. Prior to that and subsequently he taught at Kennedy High School in the town of Mt. Angel and also at Mt. Angel Seminary.
in 1971 he became a member of the recently founded Benedictine monastery in Twin Falls, Idaho. The small community served as a center for Catholic students attending the College of Southern Idaho. In 1980 the community known as the Priory, moved to its present location east of Jerome, Idaho. Father Eugene served there as purchaser of goods for the monks, bookkeeper, and gardener. He excelled at gardening and regularly collected blue ribbons at the county fairs. A favorite product was garlic.
Father Eugene's priestly ministry took him to various locations in the Diocese of Boise. He was chaplain to the sisters at Marymount Hermitage from 1987 until 1995; parish priest in Glenns Ferry from 1995 until 2012; then returned to the Monastery of the Ascension of Jerome. In his last years he suffered from emphysema which was ultimately the cause of his death.
Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 am, Saturday, March 11, 2017 at St. Jerome Catholic Church, Jerome, Idaho.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Father Eugene's memorial webpage at www.farnsworthmortuary.com