Obituaries for March
Father Gerard J. Witsken
A Mass of Christian Burial for Father Gerard J. Witsken was celebrated March 22 at St. Teresa of Avila Church. Father Witsken, 76, died Feb. 18.
A native of Cincinnati’s Western Hills, Father Witsken attended St. Teresa School, Elder High School, Xavier University and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. He was ordained on May 24, 1969, and was assigned to Our Lady of Angels Parish in Sidney. He soon returned to Cincinnati and spent 16 years teaching Spanish and religion at Elder High School while living at St. Antoninus Parish (for two separate assignments), Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Margaret Mary and St. Teresa before becoming pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church and later St. Peter in New Richmond.
In 2005, he was appointed pastor of Immaculata/Holy Trinity and Old St. Mary’s. He retired in 2008, and went on to help celebrate daily and Sunday Masses at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish until 2013. Father Witsken was also a retired Air Force chaplain.
Interment with military honors was at St. Joseph Old Cemetery.
Brother Joseph Haley
A Mass of Christian Burial for Franciscan Brother Joseph Haley was celebrated March 4 at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. Brother Joe, 75, died Feb. 26 at St. Margaret Hall.
A native of Dayton, he attended Holy Angels Elementary School, Chaminade High School, Dayton Junior College and the University of Dayton before entering the Franciscan formation program at St. Joseph Brothers’ School in Oldenburg, Ind., in 1965. Brother Joe, who spent most of his ministry in business and ac-counting work, was preparing to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a friar.
Brother Joe is survived by his brothers Larry, Bill, Patrick and Mark, and his sisters, Mary Ann Levendusky, Linda Goode and Shannon Hewette.
Interment was in the friars’ plot at St. Mary’s Cemetery in St. Bernard.
Father Thomas J. Beischel
A Mass of Christian Burial for Missionary of the Precious Blood Father Thomas J. Beischel was celebrated March 7 at St. Charles Center in Carthagena. Father Beischel, 92, died March 4 in the infirmary at St. Charles.
A Cincinnati native, Father Beischel, served in the U.S. Army as a technical sergeant in World War II. After his military service, he entered the Society in 1949 at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., and was ordained on June 1, 1958. For many years, Father Beischel was a hospital chaplain and was also active in parish ministry.
After his ordination, Father Beischel ministered at St. Anthony Parish in Detroit, then was named assistant pas-tor of Precious Blood Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. From 1961-1966 he was the treasurer of Brunnerdale, the community’s former high school seminary in Canton, Ohio.
Father Beischel became a hospital chaplain in 1966, serving for many years at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Dayton; St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio; and Providence Hospital in Cincinnati. In 2000, he became a chaplain at the Dayton Heart Hospital and also served at St. Albert the Great Church in Dayton.
In 2008, he retired to St. Charles Center in Carthagena. At St. Charles, he volunteered enthusiastically to help at local parishes for many years. Later in life, he became known as a baker; he baked and gave away thousands of loaves of bread, keeping list of recipients in a notebook in his kitchen. The bread was symbolic of his life of service.
He is survived by his brother, Mark, and sister, Sister of Mercy Lucy Beischel. Interment was in the community cemetery.