Jon Albert Alexander was born on March 31, 1943, to John and Margaretta Alexander in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Jon studied History and Education at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from 1961–1965 and then matriculated to Temple University in Philadelphia where in 1971 he was awarded a Ph.D. with a specialization in American History.
Following a year of teaching at Jackson State University, he went to study at the Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was at Harvard that Jon encountered Thomas O’Meara, O.P. who was instrumental in instructing Jon about Catholicism and bringing him into the faith and, eventually, into the Dominican Order. Jon received an M.T.S. degree from Harvard in 1974 and then entered the Dominicans in Dubuque, Iowa.
Jon was simply professed as a cooperator brother on October 4, 1975 and began teaching American Studies at The Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque (1976–1980). From 1981–1983 he taught as Assistant Professor of History and Lecturer in Religious Studies at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.
Jon then changed his status from that of cooperator brother to ceric and did supplemental studies at The Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 10, 1986, in the Old Cathedral in St. Louis by Bishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P. Jon’s first pastoral assignment was as a parochial vicar at the St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. He was in Albuquerque until 1989 when he became Director of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. From 1991 to 1994 he was the parochial vicar at Holy Cross Parish, Los Cruces, New Mexico, and from 1994 to 1998 he was in campus ministry at St. Francis Newman Center in Silver City, New Mexico.
In 1998 Jon returned to Providence College as Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies. He was a very popular professor during his time at Providence and remained there until 2014. Jon then returned to New Mexico as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Cerillos. He was also responsible for Nuestra Señora de los Remedios Mission and San Francisco de Assisi Mission (2014–2016).
After a year helping in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with residence at St. Albert the Great Priory, Jon moved in 2017, due to declining health, to St. Pius V Priory in Chicago. He died in Chicago the morning of March 3, 2023, from cancer.
Jon was known for his acute intellect. His field of academic interest was colonial history and early American religious experience. It was in these areas that he wrote and published many articles and several books. Jon was also known for his incisive (and at times irreverent) humor. He would regale contemporaries with his rewritten songs. He also loved horses and horseback riding. Many experienced Jon as a gentle and generous man.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, March 9, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Pius V Parish, Chicago, and interment will be at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.