Thank you to all who wrote in with memories of Father Clement Regimbal, S.J., the Winter 2012 Mystery Zag. This is the complete collection of recollections from our readers.
’57 John Donoghue, Kalispell, Mont.: As a veteran of Korean War I and my family came to Boone Avenue to enter the School of Engineering, and Father Regimbal as dean of admission supported me in reestablishing my GI Bill. He was very supportive throughout my time and helped along the way. He practiced A.M.D.G. every moment.
’58 Bill Wagner [MBA ’70], Priest Lake, Idaho: In 1963, I was asked if I would be interested in the director of alumni affairs position recently vacated at the University. With a very tentative, “maybe” response from me, he invited me to meet with Father Clement Regimbal – “Reggie” – who was director of development at the time. I left Seattle and a Boeing engineering job to work for a man who was as charismatic as he was dedicated to the University, his vocation and most especially, the students. I expect you will receive many replies from alumni who were also students at Florence where he was a beloved director for several years.
’58 David Walsh, Las Vegas: Father Regimbal was my first introduction to Gonzaga as he presented the benefits of a Gonzaga education to my senior class at Bellarmine High School in Tacoma on one of his recruiting trips throughout the Northwest. He sealed the deal. My roommate, Bob Thaden, and I were honored and privileged on many occasions to serve weekday Mass for Father at St. Al’s. He was a wonderful person, excellent mentor and great priest.
’59 Delpha (Stevens) Camp, Eugene, Ore.: The Zag is Father Clement Regimbal, S.J. He was vice-president of Gonzaga under Fathers Corkery and Morton as I recall. I worked in the registrar’s office during summers and his office was next door. He had the same French-Canadian ancestry as I and we used to greet each other in French. Although he spoke fluent French, I could only manage a few words and phrases. He had a great sense of humor and was always full of energy.
’70 Diane Kelly Hamm, Portland, Ore.: My copy of Gonzaga Magazine arrived today and I was thumbing through the pages when I came upon Father Clement Regimbal’s picture. It brought back so many memories of my junior year in Florence in 1968-1969. Father Regimbal was the director of our program and was very familiar with everything in Florence and surrounding areas. He knew all the great restaurants of Florence and many times joined us when our parents came to visit. On our Christmas vacation to the Holy Land, Greece, Lebanon and Turkey, he was always keeping our families updated about our travels and adventures. My year in Italy and all our weekend trips to surrounding countries of Europe will always be remembered.”
’70 Liz (Feuersinger) Templeton, Denver: Father Regimbal was the director of the Florence program when I went to Italy in the fall of 1968. As my father was born and raised in Austria, I had relatives that I had never met still living there. When we were in Salzburg they came to the hotel to see me but I was out so they talked with Father Regimbal. He arranged for me to leave to opening tour and spend several days with my Austrian relatives, meeting up with the group later in Vienna. As our tour bus approached the outskirts of Salzburg we stopped along the road where my aunts, uncles, and cousins were waiting to greet me. It was a memorable moment made possible by Father Regimbal and I have always been grateful.
Rich Warner [GIF ’70], San Francisco: Father Regimbal, known by the Gonzaga Florentini as “Reggie,” was the moving force behind the success of Gonzaga-in-Florence. Reggie was a priest, a businessman, a mediator, a true Florentine, with countless Florentine friends and a tour guide that kept the books and the Gonzaga in Florence students in tow. Together with Fr. Tony Lehman, Reggie annually guided 90 young (sometimes a little immature) American students through the perils of the Mid-Eastern countries of Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Cyprus and Turkey. All of the Gonzaga-in-Florence students had great respect for Reggie, especially when they witnessed his true priestly colors at the annual Christmas Mass in Shepherd’s Field, just outside the gates of Bethlehem. We all remember and miss Father Regimbal.
Jean Emerson, Cathedral City, Calif.: This picture is of Father Clement Regimbal. He was a close family friend when I was growing up. When he would visit us at the lake in the summer he taught me to swim. Not content to just teach me, he would test my endurance on subsequent visits, and I better be progressing. If he was over for dinner and a date picked me up he would grill them on behavior before I could leave the house. Something a high school girl loved! When he heard that the bishop did not ask me a specific question on his visit to our school before confirmation he decided he needed to ask me the Baltimore Catechism to make sure I was prepared for the sacrament. I think he was well pleased when the bishop left a hand print on my cheek during the proceedings. Father must have known I would need a bit of a reminder to be a soldier for Christ. When Father was in Florence, my husband was stationed in Germany. I visited Father and he was pick-pocketed on the train as he was making sure we had the right seats on the way back to Germany. I could not believe someone would assault a priest in Italy. Father was a wonderful man who taught me at a young age the Christianity in Catholic.
Lisa Regimbal [GIF ’80], Portland, Ore.: Growing up I knew him as Father Clem. He was a cousin of my grandfather’s and part of the French-Canadian families who settled in Moxee, Wash. Father Clem was in Florence when I was lucky enough to participate in the Gonzaga-in-Florence program in 1979-1980. We had some wonderful meals in some hole-in-the wall restaurants in Florence.
’85 Michael Lynch [J.D.], North Kingstown, RI: The mystery Zag is Father Clement Regimbal. I met Father during my first year at Gonzaga Law in 1982. Father was the chaplain to the Law School. As a first-year law student, free time was at a premium and this included taking the time to attend daily or even weekly Mass. As a lifelong practicing Catholic, it troubled me that I could or would skip mass to study. Father Regimbal was very approachable and available to law students and I brought this issue up with him. His advice was a lifelong lesson that I carry to this day. He asked if I exercised or worked out to keep my body and mental health in shape, and I responded yes. He then equated my spiritual wellbeing and relationship with God and the church with exercise and told me that if I didn’t work at it, it would fall out of shape and wither. But if I worked at it, by attending Mass and staying active in the church, then my faith and desire to attend would flourish and grow. Father Regimbal’s advice was so practical and easy to understand that I have never forgotten it and practice it to this day. His presence and guidance was one of many valuable and wonderful things I gained attending and graduating from Gonzaga Law and one of the many reasons I support the University to this day.
’85 Ron “Jake” Sutherland [J.D.], Exeter, N.H.: The “Who is this Zag” featured in the Winter 2012 Gonzaga Magazine was one of my favorite Jesuits, Father Clement Regimbal. I got to know him as he said Mass at the law school on Fridays. He was a great guy, friendly, concerned about others, like Father Tony, just more subdued. He telephoned one Christmas when he was in New Hampshire visiting friends. I still remember the call and was flattered that he remembered me.
’90 Timothy O’Brien [J.D./MBA], Spokane: During my time at the law school, Father Reginald was assigned to the law school as our spiritual advisor. My fiancée (now wife for over 21 years) and I asked Father Reginald to assist us with our upcoming marriage in the Church as she was a divorcee. We were not excited about the dispensation process. After some questioning, he identified a loophole to the process because the first marriage was not sanctioned by the Church. Needless to say, as a third year law student, I appreciated his resourcefulness. We asked Father Reginald to marry us in the Jesuit House which he agreed to do. As the wedding day approached, we learned that he was battling throat cancer and would unlikely be able to perform the ceremony but would arrange for a substitute. We were saddened to learn of his health condition and that he would not preside over our wedding as we had developed a strong bond to him. Even though not in the best of health, he performed our wedding and left a lasting impression about what service and giving of oneself is all about.
Denise Hillock [Former staff member]: That would be Father Regimbal. I always remember him and Fr. Dussault being together. They used to come by the development office when I worked there. They were both just great people. I always felt comfortable around Father Regimbal. He made you feel good.