Father Jan Santich passed away on May 23, 2013 in Cheyenne at Holy Trinity Catholic Church. The Funeral Mass was held on May 31 at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church in Rock Springs. Bishop Paul Etienne presided, along with many of the diocesan priests concelebrating.
Fr. Jan was born and raised in Rock Springs. He attended the University of Notre Dame (1960-1964; B.A.) and the University of California, Berkeley (1964-1969; M.A., Russian History). He returned to Berkeley to write a dissertation (1990-1993; Ph.D.), “Missio Moscovitica: Role of the Jesuits in the Westernization of Russia, 1582-1689 (New York: Peter Lang, 1995),” which was published and is used for teaching.
On July 7, 1984, he entered the novitiate with the Benedictine Community of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minn. Brother Jan made simple profession as a monk on July 11, 1985, followed by solemn profession on July 11, 1989. On June 8, 1990, Fr. Jan was ordained a priest.
Fr. Jan had two loves: Wyoming and history. He served as associate pastor of St. Margaret’s Parish in Riverton from 1996 until 1998, then appointed pastor of St. Patrick’s Parish in Wheatland, where he served until retirement in 2011. In 2000, Fr. Jan was incardinated into the Diocese of Cheyenne. While in Wheatland,
Fr. Jan meticulously researched the “History of the Catholic Church in Wyoming.” These parish histories were first published on the diocesan website in May 2007.
Survivors include his mother, Margaret “Peggy” Santich of Fort Collins, Colo.; two brothers – Jay Santich (Kim) of Centennial, Colo., and Jon Santich (Melissa) of Lakeside, Calif.; three sisters – Karla Santich of Fort Collins, Colo., Peggy Ruble (Brad) of Cody, and Jamie Jensen (Rocky) of Rapid City, S.D.; eight nieces and nephews, five great-nieces and –nephews and several cousins.
He is preceded in death by his father, John “Jay” Santich, paternal grandparents, Joe and Rose Santich; maternal grandmother, Grace Siegert; aunts and uncle, Eva Bensen; Mary and Fred Henetz.