Father John A. Poluikis, CSB, professor emeritus at St. John Fisher College where he taught mathematics for more than half a century, died May 28, 2012, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford. He was 89 years old.
Father Poluikis was a Rochester native who grew up in St. Stanislaus Parish, attending the parish school there. He was a 1941 graduate of Aquinas Institute and attended the University of Toronto, where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He also earned a doctorate of arts degree in mathematics from Idaho State University.
"I enjoyed mathematics," he said in an 2002 interview with the Catholic Courier. "It’s something I really took to like a duck to water."
He entered the Basilians in 1941 and was ordained June 29, 1951, at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, where he had his first teaching assignment at the high school there. He taught mathematics and religion at Aquinas Institute from 1952-55, then became a professor at St. John Fisher just months after the college graduated its first class.
He taught both math and physics during his early years at Fisher, and went full time with math by the 1960s. He was the longest-tenured Basilian priest at the college and in the late 1950s helped usher Fisher into the computer age.
Father Poluikis retired from full-time duty in 2000, teaching part time and tutoring until 2009. In May 2011, Father Poluikis received a President’s Medal at commencement for his service to the college and the Rochester community.
He was one of the original members of the Catholic Heritage Committee of Fisher’s Board of Trustees; celebrated Mass frequently at the Carmelite Monastery in Henrietta; and served as chaplain of the Golden Age Society at St. Stanislaus Parish. In addition, Father Poluikis was a skilled chess player, reigning as champion of Rochester in the 1960s and even playing chess icon Bobby Fischer in the 1970s.
Father Poluikis is survived by many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Father Poluikis will lie in state Thursday, May 31, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, 150 French Road, Pittsford, followed by evening prayer at 7 p.m. His funeral Mass will be Friday, June 1, at 10 a.m. at the motherhouse, with Bishop Matthew H. Clark presiding. Interment will be at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to St. John Fisher College, The Basilian Fathers’ Scholarship Fund, 3690 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14618.