John E. Naus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rev. John Erwin Naus, S.J.
John Erwin Naus

August 28, 1924
DiedSeptember 22, 2013(2013-09-22) (aged 89)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
OccupationJesuit priest and former clown

Rev. John Erwin Naus, S.J. (also known as Father Naus and Tumbleweed the Clown[1]) (August 28, 1924 – September 22, 2013) was a Jesuit priest and former clown who served for nearly 50 years at Marquette University.

Life and education[edit]

Naus attended Holy Cross Grade School and Marquette University High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.[2] When he was young, he wanted to run away with the circus.[3] He entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary in Florissant, Missouri on August 8, 1942.[2] In 1944, he contracted polio.[4]

Naus held degrees from Saint Louis University and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a Jesuit priest on June 16, 1955 at the Gesu Church on the Marquette University campus.[2][5]

In 1971, Naus rode in the Great Circus Parade.[4]


Naus started at Marquette as dean of students in 1963.[6] Over his years at the university, he served in a variety of roles, including director of spiritual welfare, residence hall minister, associate professor of philosophy, faculty adviser to Alpha Sigma Nu and the Evans Scholars, assistant to the president, and chaplain to the Alumni Memorial Union. For 28 years, he was known for preaching Tuesday night Mass at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel, where many students were regulars, regardless of temperature.[7] He retired from Marquette in 2012, but continued to spend time at the university.[5]

Honors and tributes[edit]

Fr. John Naus S.J., Room in the Alumni Memorial Union at Marquette University

Marquette University has a meeting room dedicated to Naus, including memorabilia and photographs from his time at the university.[8] The room was officially dedicated to Naus on August 29, 2016.[9][10] The Rev. John E. Naus, S.J., Scholarship Fund was started by Naus to help fund the education of students with financial need.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fr. John Naus, SJ (aka Tumbleweed the clown)". Wisconsin Province Jesuits. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "In Memoriam - Wisconsin Province Jesuits". Archived from the original on 29 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  3. ^ Chase, Sylvia (Reporter) (September 26, 2013). Marquette University's Father John Naus, S.J., as Tumbleweed the Clown (Television news). Milwaukee, Wisconsin: CBS News. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Uebelherr, Jan (September 23, 2013). "Father John Naus, beloved Marquette professor for half century, dies". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on August 24, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Jesse (22 September 2013). "In memoriam: Rev. John E. Naus, S.J." Marquette University News Center. Archived from the original on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
  6. ^ "Rev. John Naus, S.J. to retire from Marquette University". July 23, 2012. Archived from the original on 3 December 2015. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  7. ^ McLaughlin, Jim (29 August 2012). "After 49 years, gregarious Father Naus no longer at Marquette". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  8. ^ "AMU Meeting Room 163 is now the Father John..." 17 September 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  9. ^ "University to name room in AMU after Father John Naus, S.J." Marquette Today. August 22, 2016. Archived from the original on August 24, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016. As we approach what would have been Father Naus’ 92nd birthday, room 163 in the AMU will officially be dedicated "The Father John Naus, S.J., Room" at a reception on Monday, Aug. 29, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a brief program at 4:15 p.m. Father Naus, who died in September of 2013, was ordained at the Church of the Gesu in 1955 and spent nearly his entire life as a Jesuit priest at Marquette. Learn more about his legacy in a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tribute, originally published Sept. 23, 2013.
  10. ^ @Marquette_AMU (August 29, 2016). ""See on the face of everyone you meet, make me feel important" Today AMU Rm 163 was officially dedicated The Father John Naus, S.J., Room" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ "Rev. John E. Naus, S.J., Scholarship Fund". Marquette University. Archived from the original on 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2021-12-01.