Rev. Fr. Edward F. Caffrey, 80, a well known Eastern Washington Roman Catholic priest, passed away on Sunday, March 20, 2011, at the Colonial House Manor in Spokane Valley. He had been a priest for 54 years and a resident of Colonial Court of the past one and a half years. He was born in Coeur d ‘Alene, Idaho, on Nov. 2, 1930, and grew-up in Rathdrum, Idaho, and Spokane. He graduated from Gonzaga Prep in 1948. After attending and graduating Gonzaga University in
1953, he entered St. Edward Seminary near Seattle completing his studies in 1957, when he was ordained a priest.
Father Caffrey had served in numerous pastoral capacities in Eastern Washington including principal of DeSales High School in Walla Walla from 1959 to 1968, chaplain of Washington State University, Newman Center in Pullman from 1968 to 1981, pastor of Walla Walla Assumption Parish from 1981 to 1983, and pastor of St. Mary's Presentation Church in Deer Park from 1983 to 2002. He also served in the Cathedral, Sacred Heart Parish and Marycliff High School in Spokane, early in his priesthood. Following his retirement in 2002, he lived in Pullman for seven years.
Father Caffrey was known as a 24/7 priest, always on call, rarely taking time off, and leading a life with few frills. He drove an early 1970s Subaru for nearly 30 years and often contributed much of his own salary to parish needs. When asked once what assignment he most enjoyed, he said: "I like it best wherever I am." He did have a special love for the students at WSU as a result of his time in Pullman. A Newman Center bulletin in 2003 said regarding his tenure there: "...He is remembered by both Catholic and non-Catholic alumni as someone who truly connected with students." He also loved dogs and during the 1970s was known on campus as "the priest with the big
German shepherd," who enjoyed the crowds of students of all faiths who attended his masses at the center he built during his tenure there.
Father Caffrey is of Irish-Scots ancestry and loved St. Patrick's Day. He was known for his inspirational homilies, which if written, were nothing more than a few bullet points on the back of an envelope, and for his scholarship, keen wit, humor and story telling.
He is preceded in death by his parents, William Francis (Frank) and Grace Caffrey, Spokane; his sister, Mary Louise Clutter, Marysville, who passed away in 2009. He is survived by his brother, Dennis Caffrey
(Mary Ellen), Stratford, Conn.; sisters, Jewel Thompson, Phoenix, Ariz, and Sheila Kern (Jim), Seattle; numerous nieces and nephews.
Father Caffrey's family thank the many former parishioners, neighbors, friends and Bishop Skylstad for their loving visits to Father Ed, and to the Colonial Court staff for their patience and many daily kindnesses while he was in their care.
A rosary service will be at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 31, 2011, and the funeral mass honoring Father Caffrey will be at 11 a.m., Thursday, April 1, 2011, both in Deer Park at St. Mary's Presentation Church, East 602 6th Ave, followed with a reception in the church's social hall. Interment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane. Lauer Funeral Home in Deer Park, Wash., is in charge of arrangements.