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Fr. George J. Dyer

Pastor emeritus

Father George J. Dyer, 90, died Dec. 3 at Condell Hospital, Libertyville. 

He was pastor emeritus of St. Patrick Parish, Wadsworth. He also served on the faculty of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary and was an editor and author for the theological journal, “Chicago Studies.” 

Born in Chicago, Father Dyer attended Our Lady of Sorrows School, Quigley Preparatory Seminary and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary before being ordained in 1953. He later earned a doctorate in sacred theology.

He spent the first half of his priesthood at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary as a librarian, lecturer in patristics and later as dean and professor of theology. While a doctoral student and professor, Father Dyer celebrated Mass at St. Gilbert Parish, Grayslake (1953-1955); Santa Maria del Popolo Parish, Mundelein (1955-1963); and Transfiguration Parish, Wauconda (1964-1966). 

In 1966, Father Dyer was named assistant pastor at St. Martin. A year later, he was appointed dean of studies at Mundelein’s School of Theology, a position he held until 1978 when he was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Wadsworth (1978-1995).

During his first years serving the people of Wadsworth, Father Dyer saw a need for a larger church given the explosion of new housing in the area in the 1980s. The forecast proved to be true, as St. Patrick grew from 350 families to 2,400 families over a decade.

Father Dyer served for 16 years after his retirement as a weekend presider at St. Julian Eymard Parish, Elk Grove Village, and continued to minister to the retirement community of Sedgebrook in Lincolnshire until his health declined.

Father Dyer’s contribution to theological reflection was recognized by the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1982 when the society awarded him its highest honor, the John Courtney Murray Award.

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Fr. Fred Tomzik

Pastor, fire chaplain

Father Fred W. Tomzik, 59, died Dec. 12. Before retiring for health reasons, Father Tomzik was most recently pastor of St. Monica Church in Chicago. 

Born in Chicago, he attended Divine Savior School in Norridge, St. Patrick High School, Triton College in River Grove, Niles College, Loyola University-Chicago and the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. He was ordained in 1984.

Father Tomzik served as associate pastor at the Nativity of Our Lord (1984-1989), Divine Infant Jesus in Westchester (1989-1996) and St. Eugene (1996-1997). Later, he served as pastor at St. Louise de Marillac in La Grange Park (1997-2010) and St. Monica (2010-2015).

Father Tomzik was also chaplain of the Norwood Park Fire Department and an active member in both the Catholic Committee on Scouting and the Girl Scout Medals Committee.

He is survived by his mother, Beverly, and siblings, John Tomzik, Philip Tomzik, Steven Tomzik, David Tomzik and Janice Vercillo. 

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Sr. Dorothy Pelt

Educator, missionary

Mercy Sister Dorothy Pelt, 97, died Nov. 27.

Born in Milwaukee, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1942. She began her ministry as a teacher, working in Chicago, Des Plaines and Milwaukee for 30 years. After serving as a principal at St. Patrick in Des Plaines, she had her first experience as a missionary in Peru. 

She returned after a year when the school she taught at in Peru was closed and went back to teaching at Siena and Mother McAuley high schools in Chicago. During the summers, she volunteered in Honduras. In 1976, she was asked to serve full-time in Honduras, where she stayed for 38 years. 

She visited the 54 villages she served no matter the weather, the distance or the terrain, at times living out of her car as she traveled. Because a priest made it to each community only every couple of months, she coordinated teams of lay ministers who could celebrate the Liturgy of the Word on Sundays and other religious holidays, and she trained catechists to teach the children. 

She returned to Mercy Circle in Chicago at the age of 94.