Strake Jesuit principal remembered as ‘a man for others’

August 9, 2011

HOUSTON — Richard Charles Nevle, principal of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory for the last 20 years, died July 17. He was 69.

“One of our mottos at the school is we want to train our boys to be ‘men for others.’ Without a doubt he was a man for others,” said Father Daniel Lahart, S.J., Strake Jesuit president. “He loved people. St. Ignatius talks about finding God in all things. Richard was able to find God in all people and in that, to love them. There are just innumerable examples [of that love] from students, alumni and parents. And with his wisdom, he would point people along the right path.”

Father Lahart served as the main celebrant for Nevle’s; funeral Mass at Strake Jesuit’s Parsley Center, July 22. Archbishop Emeritus Joseph A. Fiorenza was a concelebrant.

Nevle is survived by his wife, Nancy Louise Nevle, his three sons, Richard, Charles and Eric; daughters-in-law, Deborah and Yim-Mie; and grandchildren, Kara, Alex, Matthew and Sophia.

“Richard Nevle was an inspirational Catholic School educator with a terrific sense of humor, even in the darkest hour,” said Sister Kevina Keating, CCVI, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese. 

“We loved and admired him. We will miss his presence immensely, and I personally will as Superintendent.”

“On behalf of the Archdiocese, I want to thank his wife, Nancy, and his three sons for sharing such a precious gift with us, Sister Keating said. “Our students, families and school communities were the rich beneficiaries of his life of dedication. Richard and the family are in our loving thoughts and prayers at this time.”

For several years, Nevle was a columnist for the Herald, writing about social concerns such as health care legislation and immigration reform.

Nevle was born in Houston on Dec. 12, 1941 to Olivia Otto Nevle and Lawrence Nevle. He graduated from St. Thomas High School in 1960 and went on to earn his bachelor of arts in History from the University of St. Thomas in 1964 and later his master’s in Education Administration.

Nevle worked for Prudential Insurance as a Group Insurance Administrator for a year before he turned to education. He joined the faculty at his alma mater, St. Thomas High School, where he taught from 1965 to 1967. In the fall of 1967, he joined the faculty at Strake Jesuit as History chair and taught Government and World History. Over the years at Jesuit, he also taught European History, Speech, Native American Cultures and Economics. In addition, Nevle served as chair of the Social Studies Department and as Director of Community Service.

“He was an educator through and through,” Father Lahart said. “He loved what he did, he loved the students and loved teaching them. Later, he (displayed) a great gift in administration. He loved and cared for not just students at that point, but their families and our faculty. Over the years, he became just a man filled with Jesuit spirituality. He was able to lead a faculty of a Jesuit school because he knew what that meant.”

In 1983, Nevle was named academic assistant principal. Then in 1990, was named principal. He served one year as interim president in 2000-2001. Father Lahart, who came to Strake as president in 2001, said Nevle made his transition into the position a joy.

“Personally, he was happy to be out of the (interim president) job and back to doing things he loved,” Father Lahart said. “He was able to share with me the love of this place, the people of this community and an appreciation for the history.”

“He touched the lives of generations. I, like so many, will miss him deeply.” 
Ken Lojo is currently serving as Strake Jesuit’s interim principal. †