Georgetown professor Father John Witek, 76, passed away Sunday morning

February 2, 8:53 p.m.: Reverend John Langan, the Rector of the Georgetown Jesuit community, has sent out an e-mail explaining that Witek passed away at 76 years old after struggling with cancer for several years.

“The funeral Mass for Fr. Witek will be held in Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart on Saturday, February 6, at 10:00 a.m. The Jesuit Community will also welcome guests to Wolfington Hall for visiting hours from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. on Friday, February 5,” he writes.

Father John Witek, a professor and Jesuit who taught at Georgetown University for over 40 years, has passed away. University Spokesperson Andy Pino said that Witek died Sunday morning.

A former PhD student at Georgetown University, Witek’s areas of expertise were East Asia, China, and Japan, with a particular focus on Jesuits in Asia. While at Georgetown, he edited a Portuguese-Chinese dictionary originally produced by the first two Jesuits in China, Matteo Ricci and Michele Ruggieri. Only one original copy of the dictionary exists today. He was also involved in the enormous undertaking of editing the Monumenta Sinica, a volume of letters sent among Jesuits traveling in East Asia in the sixteenth century.

According to his faculty biography, Witek could read eight other languages besides English. Last semester, he taught History of Asian Cultures I and History of Japan I. He taught History of Asian Cultures II and History of Christianity in China in Spring 2008.

Voice news will have more this Thursday.

3 Comments on “Georgetown professor Father John Witek, 76, passed away Sunday morning

  1. Really sad to hear he passed away. I had him in Fall 2008 and was astounded by how much he knew. You could tell how much he really loved the Jesuits.

  2. Indeed. Had him in the mid-1990s. I can’t believe how much history of Japan I remember thanks to him. I can still remember his intense rendering of “Ito Hirobumi.” RIP.

  3. Took both of his History of Asian Cultures classes and learnt so much. The university has lost a great professor. I will always remember his trademark sayings, “alllright..” RIP.

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