Calvin Eugene Schwenk, 83, of Phoenix, Ore. passed away in peace and with family by his side on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eugene, Ore. after a 9-year battle with multiple myeloma. Calvin was born on August 5, 1930 in Pesotum, Ill., to the late Frieda and Louis Schwenk. He was raised on the family farm and entered the Pontifical College Josephinum seminary near Columbus, Ohio, in September, 1944 at age 14. There, he completed four years of high school followed by four years of college and pre-theology coursework. In 1952, Calvin responded to an appeal for priests in Oregon and was incardinated in the Diocese of Baker. He completed his final four years of theology at the Josephinum and was ordained a Catholic priest on May 26, 1956 by the Vatican's Apostolic Delegate to the US, Titular Bishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani. He moved to Oregon in June 1956, where he served as assistant at St. Francis Cathedral parish and as Notary in the Chancery Office. Beginning in February, 1958 he served as vice chancellor. In September, 1960, Bishop Francis P. Leipzig assigned him to study canon law at the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he received his licentiate in canon law two years later, having completed his thesis, Sede Vacante Nihil Innovetur: A Historical Synopsis. Calvin ministered for fifteen years in the Diocese of Baker and was a well-loved, widely known and respected priest, recognized for his erudition, his attentive pastoral care of parishioners, and his beautiful liturgies.
Answering the call to family life, he left the priesthood and married Marian Givens in 1972, raising and loving her children as his own. He shared with them his love of learning, his faith in God and his devotion to the Church. Over the years, his children discovered that there was nothing this man did not know, whether complex questions of theology or Church doctrine; dates, names and events in world history; subtle aspects of world philosophy; the finer principles of math and science (he was a lifelong subscriber to Scientific American); or anything relating to electronic components, of which he was an avid collector and builder. Classical music was one of his great loves, and he spent many hours listening to his collection of vinyl records and cds, which he played on ever more sophisticated generations of audio equipment, some of which he built himself. A lifelong reader, Calvin never ceased educating himself. In the last years of his life, Calvin read works on the life of Christ, the origins of the universe and the sources of the world's religions.
Calvin worked a number of jobs in the restaurant and resort business to support his family, retiring from the Inn of the Seventh Mountain in Bend, Ore. in 1995, where he was an auditor. He taught three children how to drive and survived to tell the tale; humored their dubious tastes in music; assisted them with their homework; helped them become cultured citizens of the world; and counseled them in all their life decisions. He loved all of his stepchildren and step-grandchildren unconditionally, who in turn loved and honored him as father and grandfather. The love of his life was his wife of 40 years, Marian, whom he ever called "my darling" and who predeceased him by one year. The family can think of no truer love, no greater devotion, no stronger bond than that between Calvin and Marian. Always a selfless, generous man, Calvin touched the lives of many people, who will remember him as gentle, loving, intelligent and kind.
Calvin is survived by his stepdaughters, Joni Roskofsky (husband Arthur), Deanne Thompson (husband Jerry) and Susie Parker (husband Larry); his stepsons, John Givens (wife Laura) and James Givens (wife Ilona); his step-grandchildren, Jason Hollen, Andi Black (husband Adam), Jeremy Thompson, Ryan Parker (wife Jennifer), Jazzmin Glover (husband Aaren), Harrison Givens, Anna Givens, William Givens; his step-great-granddaughter, Kayleigh Black and step-great-grandson, Declan Glover; his brothers, Dean Schwenk (wife Margaret) and Jerry Schwenk; and nine nephews and nieces.
A memorial Mass will be held Monday, August 11, 2014 at 11 a.m., at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 517 West 10th Street Medford, Oregon.