Rev. George Matanic, OP
Rev. George Matanic, OP
Rev. George Michael Matanic, OP, a priest of the Western Dominican Province, died July 16 in Oakland. He was 69 years old.
Father Matanic was born Sept. 22, 1943, and was ordained a priest of the Western Dominican Province of the Order of Preachers on June 12, 1970, at St. Francis de Sales Cathedral in Oakland by the Most Rev. Floyd L. Begin, the first bishop of Oakland.
In his 40 years of service, he ministered principally in parishes and Newman Centers, including nine years, from 1996 to 2005, as pastor of St. Mary Magdalen Parish in Berkeley.
His Dominican brothers recall that one of his favorite assignments was as director of education for the Diocese of Phoenix, where his organizational skills were highly valued.
Ill health ended his last assignment, as director of Vallombrosa, the Menlo Park retreat center of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, in 2011. During his time there, he offered marriage preparation retreats. Preparing couples for marriage, he said often, was one of the joys of his ministry.
St. Mary Magdalen Parish was his first assignment, as associate pastor, after his ordination. Twenty-five years later, he would return as pastor for an extraordinary nine-year appointment. Parishioners there recalled his collaborative and generous spirit. Families of second-graders were invited to a year-long series of events to prepare for First Communion. During his tenure, the church was renovated and restored to its 1923 style. A stained-glass triptych, depicting Jesus, St. Mary Magdalen and St. Dominic, designed by Berkeley artist David Lances Goines, was installed.
"I've always felt the hand of God was moving me," Father Matanic wrote in the St. Mary Magdalen 2005 directory, which was published shortly before he left the Berkeley parish for his next assignment, at the Newman Center at the University of California, Riverside.
"Had my family not moved from Chicago to California when I was just 5 years old, I probably would have become a Franciscan, or being from Chicago, even a gangster. Instead, we moved to Vallejo, into a Dominican parish, where I was nurtured by the San Rafael sisters and the friars of the Western Province. They were important influences on my childhood.
"When the time came to enter the novitiate, I panicked and asked to postpone my entrance for one year. It was the only time in my vocation that I hesitated. When I finally entered the following year, I never looked back, nor regretted my decision to study for the priesthood.
"I have always been happy with my decision, and God's call."
During his last nine years at St. Mary Magdalen, Father Matanic's mother, sister and two brothers died. He is survived by his brother-in-law, Steve Dendas, and his nephews Andrew and Michael, and niece Angela.
After a vigil service July 23 at St. Albert's Priory in Oakland, and a funeral Mass at his childhood church, St. Vincent Ferrer in Vallejo, Father Matanic was buried at St. Dominic's Cemetery in Benicia.
In the tradition in the Dominican Order, the George Matanic, OP, Memorial Scholarship has been established to educate Dominican students. Contributions may be made through the Western Dominican Education Fund, Western Dominican Province, 5877 Birch Court, Oakland CA 94518 or online at www.opwest.org.
Sister Nancy Teskey, SNJM
Sister Nancy Teskey, an educator and primate researcher, died July 12 at Mercy Retirement and Care Center in Oakland. She was 70 years of age and a vowed member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary for 49 years.
Sister Nancy, a third-generation native of San Francisco, began her ministry as an elementary educator at schools in Altadena, Venice, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Oakland's Sacred Heart School. After completing her degree in physiology from UC-Davis in 1978 she joined the faculty at Holy Names University in Oakland. Over a 34 year period at the university, Sister Nancy taught numerous courses in science, was a member of numerous university committees and chaired the division of mathematics and sciences. In 1999, she received the outstanding faculty award from HNU in recognition of her work.
One of the great joys and experiences of Sister Nancy's life was her study and research of primates, according to an obituary written by the Holy Names Sisters. She had the opportunity to visit primate research facilities in eastern and central Africa. Later she spent a year working at the California Primate Research Center at UC Davis.
Sister Nancy is survived by Julie and Bob Santos, her sister and brother-in-law; and Michael and Tracy Teskey, her brother and his wife.
The funeral Mass was held July 28 at Holy Names University Chapel in Oakland; burial was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Hayward.
Sister Mary Thomas Magee, PBVM
Sister Mary Thomas Magee (baptismal name Margaret Mary), an educator, author and librarian, died July 3 at age of 94 at the Presentation Motherhouse in San Francisco. She had been a Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 77 years.
Sister Thomas spent 30 years as an elementary school teacher at schools in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Between 1960 and 1978 she taught and was librarian at St. Joseph Presentation High School in Berkeley, and at high schools in San Francisco and Seattle.
For many years after leaving full-time ministry, Sister Thomas volunteered her librarian skills to local schools, colleges and parishes. She also offered her services during the summer to libraries in other states. She wrote more than 30 articles in various magazines and journals as well as a book about the Presentation foundress, "Not Words But Deeds: A Life of Nano Nagle."
Most recently Sister Thomas lived at the Presentation Motherhouse and took part in the ministry of prayer.
The funeral Mass was held July 9 at the Presentation Motherhouse in San Francisco; interment followed at Holy Cross Cemetery in Colma.
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