Deacon James “Jimmie” Flewellen, 92, died Jan. 31. He was a member of the first class of permanent deacons ordained for the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1972, and he ministered at St. Thaddeus Parish.
He was born in Columbus, Georgia, and met his late wife, Isabelle, in high school. They married before he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945.
After leaving the Army, he moved his family first to Saginaw, Michigan, and then to Chicago, where he helped build St. Thaddeus church and school, helped start the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the African-American community, and was active in other community efforts.
In 1960, he and his wife were baptized into the Catholic Church, and in 1970, he began formation as a deacon. He later worked as a federal prison chaplain, serving in Springfield, Missouri from 1985 to 1993, when he returned home to serve at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.
He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pastoral studies from Loyola University Chicago, taught in the archdiocese’s diaconate formation program, was a chaplain to the Knights of St. Peter Claver and received the Augustus Tolton Award from the Office of Black Catholics.
He is survived by his son, Jimmie Flewellen Jr.
Holy Family of Nazareth Sister M. Hilary (Stephanie) Dyrcz, 99, died Jan. 19 in Des Plaines.
Born in Harvey, she entered religious life in 1934. With multiple degrees in French, education and psychology, she taught at St. Hyacinth, St. Ladislaus, Holy Trinity and Holy Family Academy in Chicago and at De Lourdes College in Des Plaines.
Beginning in 1983, she served nine years in Rome as assistant general superior for the congregation. Upon completion of her term, she ministered at Holy Family Medical Center in Des Plaines as the director of volunteers and as the receptionist at the front desk. In 2003, she retired from active ministry.
She was also a participant in Rush University’s Religious Orders Study. In her last act of service, when she died her brain was taken to Rush Medical Center to further advance research into Alzheimer’s disease.
Felician Sister Mary Virginette (Lillian) Reczek, 96, died Jan. 19 in Our Lady of the Angels Convent.
Born in Chicago, she attended Holy Trinity School and Good Counsel High School. She entered the Felician Sisters in 1941 and professed her final vows in 1949. She ministered as a teacher in various elementary schools in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
After attending a program of studies at the Deaf Institute, she worked for 13 years with hearing-impaired people in a number of schools in the archdiocese. She served as a clinician and later as the director of the Felician College Psychoeducation Center.
She was in provincial leadership for six years followed by work in behavioral medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, Illinois.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she ministered at St. John of God (1941-1942), Holy Innocents (1943-1944), St. James (1944-1946, 1964-1965), St. Bronislava (1946-1948), St. Helen (1951-1954), St. Hedwig Orphanage (1954-1960), St. Joseph School (1960-1962), and St. Frances DePaul School for the Deaf (1962-1973) and Felician College (1973-1987).
Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Alyce (Stellan) Kelly, 88, died Jan. 24 in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.
Born in Chicago, she made her first religious profession in 1953 and her perpetual profession in 1956. She taught, served as director of religious education and was a pastoral associate and parish administrator for 18 years. Sister Alyce served in Wisconsin, Illinois and Hawaii.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Alyce taught at Immaculate Conception (1969-1970), where she also coordinated the religious curriculum.
She is survived by her sister, Providence Sister Kathleen Kelly.
Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Patricia (Jarett) Henschel, 88, died Jan. 24 in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.
Born in Milwaukee, she made her first religious profession in 1951 and her perpetual profession in 1954. She taught at the elementary, middle and collegiate levels for 28 years and served in educational administration for 20 years.
She served in Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and California.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Pat taught at St. Sabina (1958-1966) and Rosary College (now Dominican University), River Forest (1977-1987, 1988-1989). She was principal at St. Edmund, Oak Park (1972-1975).
Comboni Father Robert Kleiner, 74, died Feb. 2.
Born in Cincinnati, he attended the Comboni high school seminary. After completing his novitiate and college studies, he was ordained a priest in 1971, two months before he was sent to Peru.
He remained there for three years, returned to the United States because of health problems and then was sent to minister at a high school seminary in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico from 1976 to 1982.
After a stint in California, he came to the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1991 to minister at St. Donatus, Blue Island, and Seven Holy Founders, Calumet Park. He remained in the archdiocese until 2002.
Sister of the Holy Child Jesus Loretta Tiernan, 80, died Feb. 5.
Born and raised in Waukegan, she attended Holy Child High School, where she first met the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus. She entered the society in 1956 and became well-known by the religious name Mother Mary Clarice. She made her final vows in 1964.
Sister Loretta returned to the Archdiocese of Chicago to teach at St. Veronica (1959-1963); St. Ignatius (1963-1965); and St. Anastasia, Waukegan (1965-1967).
In 1979, Sister Loretta returned to Waukegan, where she became a minster at Victory Hospital, then served as a pastoral associate and minister of care at St. Joseph and St. Bartholomew Parish. The scope of her ministry grew as the parishes consolidated.
Sister Loretta is survived by her sister, Mary Ann Grazier.
Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Marise Barry, 87, died Feb. 6, in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.
Born in Chicago, Sister Marise made her first religious profession in 1951 and her perpetual profession in 1954.
She taught, served as a principal, was in congregation leadership worked in the social service field.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, Sister Marise taught at Immaculate Conception (1968-1970) and served as provincial for the Eastern Province of the Sinsinawa Dominicans while living in River Forest (1992-1998).
Jesuit Father Philip J. Grib, 80, died on Feb. 8 at Resurrection Hospital.
Born in Chicago, he graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep and earned a bachelor’s degree in Latin, Greek and philosophy from Xavier University in Cincinnati, followed by a law degree from the University of Chicago before entering the Society of Jesus in 1964.
During his Jesuit formation, he taught U.S. history and English at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, and worked in campus ministry Loyola University Chicago following his ordination in 1972. He went on to teach law and moral theology at Loyola University for 11 years and served as chaplain in the school of law.
After a sabbatical, Father Grib moved completely into pastoral ministry. He was an associate pastor at St. Constance Parish (1996-1999). In 1999, he moved to St. Eugene Parish in Chicago, where he served until his death.
Father Grib was a musician and clarinet player. For a while, Father Grib served as the chaplain for the International Polka Society.
Divine Word Brother Wayne Till, 85, died at Techny on Feb. 8.
Born in Iowa, Brother Wayne entered formation with the Society of the Divine Word after graduating from high school in 1951.
While in formation at Techny, he worked as an assistant in the Techny Mission Gardens.
In 1960, Brother Wayne professed vows and was assigned to the congregation’s dairy farm in Kellyville, Australia.
After 10 years in Australia, Brother Wayne was assigned as a mechanic in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, where he also served as bursar for Holy Spirit Seminary in Port Moresby.
Having fulfilled 28 years of missionary service in Papua New Guinea, Brother Wayne returned to the United States in 1998. He moved to Techny in late 2018.