Fr. Thomas “Tom” Raymond Carkhuff, OSC, former prior provincial for the Crosiers in the U.S., died of lymphoma March 2 in Onamia, Minnesota, at the age of 70. As head of the religious order’s American branch, he spearheaded the relocation of the provincial headquarters to Phoenix.

Fr. Tom Carkhuff, OSC

Fr. Thomas Raymond Carkhuff, OSC

Born: July 10, 1948

First Profession: Aug. 28, 1969

Ordained: May 15, 1976

Service in the Diocese of Phoenix
1999-2011, Prior Provincial of the Crosier Community

Died: March 2, 2019

Memorial Donations:
Rev. Thomas R. Carkhuff, OSC
Formation and Leadership Development Scholarship
c/o the Crosier Fathers and Brothers
P.O. Box 500
Onamia, MN 56359-0500.

Born July 10, 1948, in Wadena, Minnesota, to Raymond Elmer and Leona Catherine (Kupfer) Carkhuff, Fr. Carkhuff attended Crosier High School and Junior College in Onamia before earning a bachelor’s in social science from St. Francis College/Indiana University.

Fr. Carkhuff entered the Crosier novitiate in Hastings, Nebraska, on Aug. 27, 1968, and professed first vows the following year on Aug. 28, 1969. He completed his graduate studies in theology in 1973 at the Crosier House of Studies in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and spent the following years in pastoral ministry and further theological studies at the Catholic Theological Union prior to his ordination.

After he was ordained a priest May 15, 1976, in Fort Wayne, Fr. Carkhuff was assigned to the Crosier House of Studies in the Development and Lay Apostolate office. He then worked in parish ministry in Aitkin, Minnesota, and St. Cloud, Minnesota. Fr. Carkhuff served in different capacities for the Province of St. Odilia, including as formation director in Chicago; provincial assistant for vowed life; member of the provincial council in Minneapolis; prior of the Crosier Community of Shoreview (Minnesota) for two terms; and director of the Asmat Initiative and the American Museum of Asmat Art in Shoreview.

“He loved Crosier life. He was very devoted to the Crosiers. He was very concerned about the future of Crosier life,” recalled Fr. Alex Juguilon, OSC, parochial vicar at St. Gregory Parish. Fr. Carkhuff had served as Fr. Juguilon’s post-novitiate formator for five years and helped him prepare for solemn profession and ordination to the priesthood. “He wasn’t interested in just numbers — he wanted the right men to be Crosiers and men who would live the authentic Crosier life.”

In 1999 he was elected prior provincial and served for three terms. During his tenure, the province offices moved to Phoenix in July 2007.

“Fr. Tom was one of the leaders of our community. As Prior Provincial he guided our order through a decade of transformation and through some difficult times in the early 2000s,” said Fr. Juguilon.

After his service as prior provincial concluded in 2011, Fr. Carkhuff returned to the Crosier Community of Onamia, where he served as post-novitiate formation director, providing guidance for the young men who were in the early stages of living out their vocation. He also served as co-director of the Crosiers’ fundraising pilot program in Onamia working with confreres in Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He served as a member of the General Formation Commission and on the board of the Resource Center for Religious Institutes from 2009-2015, including two years as chair of the board.

“One thing about Fr. Tom is that he really had an eye for art and beauty and he always tried to make us aware of how art affects liturgy. Environment, music, the way you carry yourself. He paid attention to that in forming us and getting us ready for the priesthood,” said Fr. Juguilon.

Fr. Juguilon said that looking back he’s thankful for Fr. Carkhuff, saying their relationship was “was very formal and it wasn’t always the easiest relationship. He had a job to do and I was trying to come into my own. But looking back I have much gratitude for Tom in helping me make my final profession to live Crosier life.”

Fr. Carkhuff is survived by sisters and brothers Mary Blom, Sue Hieb, Joyce Hieb, Bill, Trish Steinkopf and Jim and their families; his Crosier confreres and numerous friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and his oldest brother, Roger (Butch), and youngest brother, Mike. Funeral services were held March 10.