1913 – 1981 (October 26)
Ezra Joseph Fenton, the son of Ezra A. Fenton and Rose Helferty, was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on August 13, 1913, and was baptized four days later by Father Charles J. McFadden, O.S.A., at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Church there. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, as a postulant in 1926, and was received as a novice on September 11, 1930. He made his simple profession of vows on September 12, 1931, and his solemn profession on September 12. 1933. Having obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in scholastic philosophy at Villanova College in 1936, he went on to Washington, DC, for his theological training at Augustinian College and was ordained to the priesthood on June 7, 1938. He pursued graduate studies at The Catholic University, which conferred upon him a Master of Arts degree in education in 1939.
Father Fenton dedicated his priestly life to Catholic education. He taught education in the Villanova Summer School and for a number of years to the professed clerics at Sea Isle, New Jersey. His first assignment was to Augustinian Academy, Mount Saint Rita, Staten Island, where he taught Latin, Religion, and English from 1939 to 1951. A basketball player himself in prep school, he achieved success as a basketball coach at the Academy. Certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to teach English, Latin, French and Greek, he was transferred to Malvern Preparatory School in 1951. Recalled to Augustinian Academy as Vice-Rector in 1953, he served as depositarius and teacher. From 1955 to 1957 he was assistant principal and teacher at Central Catholic High School in Troy, New York, while serving as assistant pastor at Saint Augustine Parish.
In the area of higher education, Father Fenton served as Assistant to the President, Dean of Admissions, and Assistant Professor at Merrimack College, North Andover, Massachusetts, and as subprior of the Augustinian Community from 1957 to 1969. He was then appointed Dean of Admissions and Registrar at Biscayne College, North Miami, Florida, and subprior of the community. Chosen as prior of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, DC, in 1971, he also taught English there for eight years, from 1971 to 1979. His final obedience was to Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Atlantic City where he ministered until 1981.
A dignified religious, Father Fenton enjoyed teaching and established a pleasant rapport with his classes. As an administrator and public relations officer, he brought competence and refinement to his office.
Struck by a sudden seizure, Father Fenton died in Atlantic City, Monday, October 26, 1981. A Mass of Christian Burial was offered at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine on Thursday, October 29, followed by a second Mass the following day at Saint Thomas of Villanova Church, Villanova. Burial was in the Augustinian plot at Calvary Cemetery, West Conshohocken, Pa.