Father Paul Betowski, SJ
Served 1970 – 2002
Father Edward Paul Betowski, S.J., was born on May 18, 1915 in Waverly, NY. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936 from Georgetown University. He entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) in 1937.
As a Jesuit he studied philosophy and science. He also taught mathematics and physics at Loyola College in Baltimore. His theological studies were conducted from 1945 to 1949 when he was ordained a priest in the Catholic Church.
Before coming to White Sands Missile Range in June 1970, Betowski taught at Georgetown University and served as Assistant Director of Admissions and Director of Residence Life at Loyola College.
At White Sands, Betowski served as the Catholic Religious Education Coordinator from 1970 to 1984 and as the full-time Catholic Chaplain from 1984 to 2002.
Betowski doesn’t fit the mold of most people in the hall of fame that is loaded with engineers, scientists and technicians. One nominator said, “He never fired a missile and he probably lost most of his budget battles, but no one did more to weave the fabric of the WSMR character.”
Betowski operated at White Sands outside the normal day-to-day operations. He is credited with being there after hours and on weekends “fostering community, fellowship and spirituality” for more than 30 years – more than half the life of White Sands. His contributions are hard to quantify except in the testimony of the many people whose lives he touched.
His nomination package is filled with statements such as:
“He was the rock which I knew I could count on for the strength and guidance I needed to live my life and do my job.”
“Although I am not of the Catholic religion, he was always there for me when I was having problems.”
“His spirituality, easy going personality and friendliness made it very comfortable for me to approach him in any period of personal turmoil.”
“Father B was always there, for the sad occasions and for the happy occasions.”
“He was able to provide outstanding counseling and ministry that tended to relieve the stress of working at White Sands.”
“We were all brought together under one roof and under one spirituality via Father B’s consistency, strength and charisma.”
Father Betowski died on March 11, 2002.