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Fr. J. Edwin Thayer Tewes dies at 65

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Father J. Edwin Thayer Tewes, former parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Church in Gainesville before taking a medical leave of absence in May 2018, died Aug. 17. He was 65.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Aug. 27 at Holy Trinity at 11 a.m. Viewing will be held at the church Aug. 26 beginning at 4 p.m. The rosary will be recited at 6:30 p.m. and the vigil service will be at 7:30 p.m. He will be interred at Fairfax Memorial Park. 

He was born March 27, 1954, to Joseph William Tewes Jr. and Betty Thayer in Washington. He grew up near Chain Bridge with his brother Joseph and sister Elizabeth Stross and lived in the same house for 23 years. He attended Our Lady of Victory School for grade school before attending Georgetown Preparatory School in Washington where he played varsity tennis. After high school, he attended George Mason College of the University of Virginia, and The Catholic University of America in Washington’s Institute of Liturgical Music where he received his certificate in 1974.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1978 from Stonehill College in North Easton, Mass., and a master’s in synthetic organic chemistry from Tufts University in Medford, Mass., in 1980. He conducted research at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces and worked as a chemist.

Father Tewes returned to Virginia to teach at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria (1985-91). While there, he coached tennis and led the team to five VCHSL state championships. He entered Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., where he earned his master’s of divinity in 1996.

During his time in the seminary, he spent a summer at St. Peter Church in inner city Baltimore, where he volunteered at a drug rehabilitation center. He also spent a year as a transitional deacon at St. Leo the Great Church in Fairfax and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John R. Keating at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington May 18, 1996.

Father Tewes served as parochial vicar of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Church in Fredericksburg (1996-2000), St. Timothy Church in Chantilly (2000-04), St. Luke Church in McLean (2004-06), St. Ambrose Church in Annandale (2006-10), St. Francis de Sales Church in Purcellville (2010-15), and Holy Trinity (2015-18).

In his spare time, Father Tewes enjoyed collecting stamps and coins. A music lover, he played the piano, soprano and tenor recorder and piano accordion. He loved Star Trek, Pope John XXIII and church history. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019