Dick Gedrose, who died Aug. 1 at age 77, walked the halls of Jesuit High School as a student more than 60 years ago. For the next six decades, he served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, vice principal, principal and president at the Southwest Portland school.

Throughout his long tenure, Gedrose strove to achieve what he saw as the school’s priority — what was best for students. Colleagues said he had the ability to make decisions with grace and compassion.

He watched Jesuit evolve and grow over the years, coworkers explained, and put his entire heart and soul into devotion to Jesuit’s mission and to its students. As staff remember it, he fostered a dedication to excellence.

“As a loving husband, father and grandfather, [Gedrose] became a model, a prototype of the Jesuits’ companion in mission, as ‘Jesuit’ as any person who ever worked in this apostolate. And every step of the way, ‘Age Quod Agis,’” Jesuit Father Larry Robinson wrote about Gedrose in the high school’s magazine in 2005, citing the motto from St. Ignatius that means “do well what you are doing at the moment” or “focus on the task at hand.”

In an email to the Jesuit school community, Thomas Arndorfer, current president, wrote this about the longtime friend of the school:

“Recently, when asked about significant memories from his time at Jesuit, Gedrose shared three key events. First, he mentioned his help in writing the “Profile of a Jesuit Graduate at Graduation.” As the presence of Jesuits at the school declined in the 1980s, Jesuit needed to clarify its goals and objectives as a Catholic, Jesuit high school. Since then, every Jesuit student has studied the profile and is expected to live up to its expectations.

“Second, Gedrose faced the challenge of keeping the school a ‘Jesuit’ and ‘Catholic’ high school as most new employees were lay faculty, not Jesuit priests. Under his direction, Jesuit’s campus ministry and Christian service departments became central parts of the school’s mission.

“Third, Gedrose, along with Fr. Bill Hayes, S.J. and others, was instrumental in orchestrating Jesuit’s transition from an all-boys school of 37 years to a co-educational environment in 1993. At the time, the change was fraught with controversy and required patience and commitment. Today, it is impossible to imagine Jesuit without young women.”