A Spokane native, he entered the Society of Jesus in 1939 in Sheridan, Oregon, and was ordained in 1952, in Spokane. Fr. Costello earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Gonzaga University, a second master’s degree from Fordham University, and his doctorate from Georgetown University. He taught briefly at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma and at Gonzaga University before joining the Seattle University faculty in 1959. He became head of the Political Science department there, was named Academic Vice President in 1960, and later Executive Vice President in 1966.
Fr. Costello returned to Gonzaga in 1970, when he joined the faculty of the Political Science department; he also served as department chair for many years. While at Gonzaga, he served as Acting Vice President and was Rector of the Jesuit community both at Gonzaga University and Gonzaga Preparatory School. When he retired from teaching in 1990, then-President Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., bestowed upon Fr. Costello the title Professor Emeritus. In that same year he was appointed Vice President of the University, with duties that included advising faculty and students in the Law School and also helping to raise funds for that academic division.
Over the years, Fr. Costello was involved in several peace advocacy organizations, including The Catholic Association of International Peace and the World Without War Council. He remained active in the life of the University right up until his move to Los Gatos.
Fr. Costello's funeral Mass will be held at St. Aloysius Church at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, June 1 with a reception to follow. A vigil will be held in Gonzaga’s Jesuit House Chapel on Tuesday, May 31 at 7 p.m.
Fr. Costello often referenced Thomas Jefferson in his American political thought classes as an example of exemplary political leadership. Because he requested that no funds bearing his name be created at Gonzaga, Fr. Costello’s many friends and admirers established the Thomas Jefferson Endowed Scholarship in 2008.
Memorial contributions may be sent to: Gonzaga University, Attention University Advancement, Thomas Jefferson Endowed Scholarship Fund, 502 E. Boone Ave., Spokane, WA 99258-0098. Memorials may also be contributed to the Senior Jesuit Fund, Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, Ore., 97286.
A livestream video of the funeral will be available through the St. Aloysius Church website.
Thayne M. McCulloh, President
May 23, 2016 (updated May 27, 2016)