Obituaries

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Fr. Edward J. McKenna

Hospital chaplain

Father Edward J. McKenna, 79, died April 11. He was most recently the  Catholic chaplain at St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights.

Father McKenna was born in Chicago and attended St. Dorothy and St. Philip Neri schools, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1965.

He was assistant pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas and associate pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Glenview; St. Bridget; and St. Paul (22nd Place).

In addition, McKenna served as a Catholic chaplain at Maryhaven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; at Holy Family Medical Center, Des Plaines; and St. James Hospital, Chicago Heights.
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Fr. David P. Dowdle

Pastor

Rev. David P. Dowdle, 65, died April 18. He was senior priest and former pastor of St. John of the Cross Parish in Western Springs.

Born in Chicago, he attended St. Bernardine School, Forest Park; Quigley Preparatory Seminary; Niles College Seminary of Loyola University; and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1979.

Father Dowdle served as associate pastor of St. Marcelline, Schaumburg; St. Mary of Celle, Berwyn; and Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Glenview. He was pastor of St. Gall (1992-2000), then became director of spiritual formation for the Deacon Formation Program.

In 2007, Dowdle was appointed pastor of St. John of the Cross in Western Springs, Illinois, and served in that role until 2018. As his health declined, he continued to serve as a senior priest.

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Deacon Mathews Vellurattil

Class of 1999

Deacon Mathews VellurattilDeacon Mathews C. Vellurattil, 69, died April 22.

He was ordained in 1999 and served at St. Ladislaus Parish.

He is survived by his wife, Kunjoonjamma (Kay), his son Sijin; two grandchildren; and his siblings Father George Vellurattil, Lizy, Joseph, Alex and Shiny.

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Sr. Mary Jo Stewart

Educator

Providence Sister Mary Jo (Joseph Maureen) Stewart, 91, died April 20 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Born in Indiana, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1945 and professed final vows in 1952. She ministered in education and health care in Indiana, Illinois, California and Mississippi. In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Our Lady of Sorrows (1947-1948); St. Genevieve, (1948-1952) and St. Francis Borgia (1952-1954).

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Sr. Patricia Ann Miller

Educator

Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Patricia Ann “Pam” (Marie Job) Miller, 78, died April 25 in Hazel Green, Wisconsin.

Born in Kansas City, Sister Pam made her first religious profession in 1967 and her perpetual profession in 1970. She was a teacher, pastoral minister and congregation leader who served in Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Pam taught at Trinity High School, River Forest (1976-1978).

She is survived by a sister, Cathy Colver, and two brothers, James Miller and Thomas Miller.

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Sr. Beverly McEachin

Educator

Adrian Dominican Sister Beverly (Marie Neal) McEachin, 90, died April 26 in Adrian, Michigan.

Born in Detroit, she was in her 72nd year of religious life,

Sister Beverly ministered in education and school counseling in Illinois, Arizona and Michigan. She also worked in finance and in the sisters’ development office.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at St. Nicholas of Tolentine School (1948-1951, 1962-1965).

She is survived by her sisters Marilyn Helhowski and Susan Nichol and her brothers Patrick McEachin and Robert McEachin.

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Fr. Robert Bolser

Educator, parish priest

Viatorian Father Robert T. Bolser, 74, died April 28 in Las Vegas.

Born in Urbana, Illinois, he professed his first vows as a Viatorian in 1964, his final vows in 1967 and was ordained a priest in 1995 in Chicago.

Father Bolser held master’s degrees in religious studies, educational psychology and divinity.

He taught in Springfield and Rock Island, Illinois and in Colombia.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, he served as director of affiliates and in campus ministry at St. Viator High School, Arlington Heights (1983-1989); as a pastoral associate at St. Bartholomew Parish, Waukegan (1989-1991); and parochial vicar at St. Viator Parish (1995-2000, 2001-2006). He also ministered in Las Vegas. He moved to the Province Center retirement residence in Arlington Heights in 2016.

He is survived by his brothers Viatorian Father Charles Bolser, John Bolser and Joseph Bolser; and his sisters Mary Catherine Bolser and Colleen Von De Bur.

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Sr. Mary Leahy

Educator, development officer

Providence Sister Mary (Marie Anita) Leahy, 84, died April 30 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana.

Born in Chicago, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1952 and professed final vows in 1959.

In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she taught at Mother Theodore Guerin High School, River Grove (1968-1971); was the coordinator of secondary schools for the St. Joseph Province, based in Chicago (1971-1973); taught at St. Genevieve (1972-1973); was principal at St. Jerome (1973-1979); and was finance and development director at Sacred Heart of Mary High School, Arlington Heights (1980-1985).

She ministered in education and development in Indiana, Illinois and Washington, D.C. In 1997, she was named director of the National Religious Retirement Office, an office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that coordinates fundraising for the retirement of members of all religious congregations.

Sister Mary is survived by two sisters, Sheila Ruskauff and Margaret Frederick.

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Fr. John Smyth

Executive director of Maryville Academy

Father John P. Smyth, 84, died April 16. He served at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines for more than 40 years.

Born in Chicago, he attended St. Genevieve, DePaul Academy and Quigley Preparatory Seminary. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1957 and turned down an opportunity to play in the National Basketball Association to pursue a vocation to the priesthood. He received a bachelor’s degree in theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in 1962 and was ordained the same year.

Following ordination to the priesthood, Smyth was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines and served there in a variety of roles for more than 40 years. During his time at Maryville, Smyth also served as the director of the Office of Catechesis and Youth Ministry from 1992 until 1995. In 2007, Smyth was appointed president of Notre Dame College Prep, Niles. He  served until 2014.

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Sr. M. Virginia Tasny

Educator

Resurrection Sister M. Virginia Tasny, 92, died March 6 at Resurrection Life Center.

She was born in Detroit and worked as a bank teller for six years before entering the congregation in 1950. She made final vows in 1956.

She spent many years teaching primary grades at schools including St. Mary of the Angels; St. Casimir (now Our Lady of Tepeyac); and Queen of the Rosary, Elk Grove Village. She also assisted in the office at Resurrection High School.

Sister Mary Virginia then spent 20 years working at the provincial home as receptionist, assisting the local superior or director of nursing at Queen of the Resurrection.

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