Father Martin E. Bedoya, 81, died Sept. 25. He was the former associate pastor of St. Mary Parish, Des Plaines.
Born in Colombia, he began studies in the Seminary of Yarumal, graduating with the Friars of Rafael de la Serna.
After arriving in the United States, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Chicago State University and a master’s degree in human service administration from Spertus College. He then began a career in Catholic hospitals, becoming chief cardiovascular technologist and director of cardiology and neurology at Columbus Hospital before working as a public service administrator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
He became an active parishioner at St. Mary and was encouraged to speak to Cardinal Francis George, who encouraged him to study for the priesthood.
Father Bedoya attended Pope St. John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts, which specializes in forming men who discern their priestly vocations later in life. He was ordained in 2003.
Father Bedoya served as associate pastor at St. John the Evangelist, Streamwood, until 2005 and St. Mary until 2013, when he retired.
“He wasn’t ordained until he was 63, but he had a vocation his whole life,” said Father Lawrence Collins, pastor of St. Mary. Father Bedoya and Collins worked together at St. Mary Parish for three years, cherishing their friendship even after Bedoya retired. He would always help those in need, whether clothing and toys for children or food for families, according to Collins.
Father John J. (Jerry) Bresnahan, 86, died Sept. 26. He was pastor emeritus of the former St. Beatrice Parish, Schiller Park.
Father Bresnahan was born in Chicago and attended St. Ailbe School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1960.
Father Jerry, as he was known by his parishioners, was assistant pastor of St. Joseph, Homewood; St. Andrew (Addison Street); St. Germaine, Oak Lawn; and St. Joseph, Libertyville. He was a U.S. Army chaplain for five years before serving as associate pastor of St. Mary of the Woods and as pastor at St. Beatrice Parish for 22 years. He was named pastor emeritus in 2005.
“Father Jerry was well loved and respected by the people he served,” said Father Robert Schultz, pastor of Holy Virgin Martyrs Parish in Schiller Park. “His influence on St. Beatrice Parish was felt for years after his retirement. He was known for being soft-spoken, a gentle soul and a true gentleman.”
Deacon Richard M. Willer, 85, died Sept. 14. He was ordained in 1997 and served at St. Thomas of Villanova, Palatine.
Deacon Willer was also a U.S. Army veteran.
He is survived by his wife of almost 62 years, Mary; his children Christine Hofmann, Charlene Gauer, Carol Nash and Colleen Lee; 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren; and his sister, Barbara Castronovo.
Providence Sister Laurine (Dorothy Catherine) Haley, 93, died Sept. 6 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. Born in Massachusetts, she entered the Sisters of Providence in 1945 and professed final vows in 1953.
She ministered for 45 years in schools in Indiana, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Maryland and Washington, D.C., and then ministered to the elderly.
In the Archdiocese of Chicago, she served at St. Columbkille Day Nursery and St. Genevieve School.
Viatorian Father Michael P. Keliher, 74, died Sept. 10 at the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.
Born in Kankakee, he made his first profession in 1966 and was ordained in 1976.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and pre-medicine in 1970 from Loyola University Chicago and a master’s degree in divinity from Catholic Theological Union.
Father Keliher taught biology and coached both wrestling and golf at St. Viator High School (1970-1972, 1976-1985) and was a parish priest in Illinois and in Las Vegas, including at St. Viator Parish in Chicago.
He moved to the Viatorian Province Center residence when he retired in July 2019.
Dominican Father John Louis (Mannes) Gambro, 91, died Sept. 19 at Resurrection Life Center.
Born in Chicago, he attended St. Thomas Aquinas School, St. Mel High School and Loras Collage in Dubuque, Iowa, before entering the Dominican order at age 20.
He finished his bachelor’s degree and earned a master’s degree at the Dominican House of Studies in River Forest and earned another master’s degree in classical languages at Loyola University Chicago.
He was ordained in 1957 and embarked on a 45-year ministry as a high school Latin teacher at Fenwick High School, Oak Park (1957-1963, 1978-2002) and in Texas. He retired in the Chicago area, living at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, River Forest, and St. Pius V Priory before moving finally to Resurrection Village Life Center.
He is survived by his brother, Francis James Gambro.