Theodore C. Thepe, S.J., taught chemistry and photography at Xavier for 50 years before moving to the Colombiere Center retirement community for Jesuit priests in Michigan last year. Thepe died on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at age 87.
Thepe was popular with students and maintained friendships with them long after they left his classes. He was known for his classes on radioactivity in the 1950s and 1960s when it was a new science, and for his novel approach to photography which he continued to teach until his retirement. His favorite photography subjects were flowers and Xavier's women's basketball team.
An interview with him in the Summer 2009 issue of Xavier magazine describes his introduction to photography. A story about the declining number of Jesuits in the Summer 2005 issue includes a description of Thepe's experiences living on campus. A short story in Summer 2009 refers to Thepe's acquisition of radiation monitoring equipment, which included a two-ton cylinder that he posed on for a photo and story in 2003.