Thursday, April 21, 2005

Father Malcolm Carron, S.J., 1917-2005.

Father Mal Carron, whose years of dedicated service to his home city earned him the title “Mr. Detroit,” died two days ago at Colombiere, a month shy of his 88th birthday. Mal had what I suspect is the unique distinction of serving as president of all three Jesuit schools in Detroit, playing a pivotal role in the history of each institution. Mal led the University of Detroit through exceptionally tough times, weathering student rebellion, civil unrest, economic decay and urban decay. At a time when many Detroit institutions were following a tide of migration to the suburbs, Mal Carron kept U of D in the city and worked hard to make the university responsive to the needs of a struggling urban community. After thirteen years as a university president, Mal moved from higher to secondary education, spending over a decade at the helm of U of D Jesuit High School. Foregoing a well-deserved retirement, in his late-seventies Mal served as founding president of Loyola High School, bringing Jesuit education to at-risk students in innercity Detroit. Mal Carron spent the last several years of his life at Colombiere, which is where I got to know him. At our first meeting, after I'd been introduced as a novice, Mal replied with a wink and a smile: "I was a novice myself once - about fifteen years ago!" On good days, Mal Carron could crack a joke and carry a conversation. On bad days, he spoke only in monosyllables ("oh boy" was his all-purpose response to any kind of situation, good or bad) but remained very alert; no matter how incommunicative he appeared, Mal consistently did quite well in the Colombiere football pool. Though I didn't meet Mal Carron until the twilight of his life, I'm glad to have known him. Mal may have passed from the scene, but his edifying example will continue to inspire Jesuits in Detroit and beyond. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home