Former Cascia Hall headmaster the Rev. Theodore Tack dies at 85
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
2/12/13 at 3:05 AM
It was the kind of news flash that the Rev. Theodore Tack, as a onetime co-editor of the school newspaper, could certainly appreciate.
Cascia Hall Preparatory School, an all-boys institution since its founding in Tulsa half a century earlier, was going to start admitting girls.
But this time, unlike with other headline-making events in school history, Tack learned that he would be on hand to experience it.
Returning to teach in 1987, a year after the school became the first co-ed Augustinian school in the country, Tack happily welcomed the change, along with most of the others he had missed in the four decades since he graduated.
He was glad to note, however, that one thing at Cascia Hall remained the same.
A distinguished Augustinian priest and former head of the worldwide order in Rome, Tack believed strongly in the Augustinians' ideal of community.
"It's a big thing for us," he once told the Tulsa World. "It has founded (Cascia Hall), and it has given it life. The spirit of the Augustinians still pervades this place."
The Rev. Theodore Edward Tack Jr., who later became Cascia Hall's headmaster, a role in which he continued not only to promote that spirit but embody it, died Sunday. He was 85.
A wake is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, a visitation will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, and a funeral Mass is set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, all in the St. Rita Chapel at Cascia Hall. Fitzgerald Ivy Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.
The headmaster at Cascia Hall from 1991 to 1997, Tack was affiliated with the school longer than any other employee, having begun there as a junior high student in 1939.
It was there as a student that he'd decided to study for the priesthood. A graduate of Villanova University and Gregorian University in Rome, Tack was ordained in 1953.
After teaching in the U.S., he was invited back to Rome in 1961 to teach at Augustinian University and was later elected to lead the Augustinian order.
As the head of the Rome-based order from 1971 to 1983, he traveled extensively, visiting Augustinian communities all over the world and educating other Catholics about St. Augustine's teachings.
During his travels, Tack, who spoke Italian and Spanish, met with several cardinals and popes, as well as such influential figures as Mother Teresa.
The Rev. Robert Prevost, the current head of the Augustinians, said Tack "was a great model and an aid to me whom I've continued to consult."
"He really set the expectations for what the order has wanted in its leaders since," Prevost said. "No one before had traveled like he did in his dedication to the Augustinians throughout the world. We owe him a great deal."
Tack, the son of late Tulsa oilman Theodore Tack, was born in Tulsa in 1927. He came from a culturally diverse background - his father was of German descent, his mother from Trinidad.
At Cascia Hall, he played basketball, and was co-editor of the school paper with future Tulsa Mayor Robert LaFortune.
After his tenure as headmaster - during which he helped increase enrollment and oversaw many campus improvements - Tack taught until his retirement in 2011.
Tack, who wrote many articles and books about St. Augustine, provided "a living example of Augustine" to Cascia, Headmaster John Sotak said. "And he represented our core values of truth, unity and love, which we developed under his guidance."
The Rev. Bernie Scianna, who succeeded Tack as headmaster, said: "Father Tack's is a great story: a worldwide leader who returns after many years to his alma mater. A worldwide leader who at the same time saw himself as one of us, trying to teach, trying to live his life, carrying on the search with us."
Tack is survived by one sister, Sue Tillman.
Friends are contributing to the Tack Fund at Cascia Hall or the Augustinian Province Fund for the Sick and Elderly.
Original Print Headline: Educator a model of St. Augustine
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
The Rev. Theodore Tack: As leader of the Augustinian order, he traveled extensively in the 1970s and early 1980s, visiting Augustinian communities all over the world and educating Catholics about St. Augustine's teachings.