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Obituary: Father Carl Hawver, OFM

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Fr. Carl Hawver, OFM, died Dec. 31 at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati. Fr. Carl was 78 years old and had been under palliative care for some weeks. A sensitive and caring friar, he was known for his love for singing, creativity and helping those he ministered to feel free to be themselves.

Born Oct. 18, 1943, in Springfield, Ohio, Fr. Carl was one of four children of Carl and Frances Nigh) Hawver. He attended St. Raphael School and Catholic Central High School in Springfield before entering candidacy in the Franciscan Order in 1961 at Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan. Fr. Carl was invested as a novice at St. Anthony Friary on Aug. 15, 1963, but left the novitiate after three months. He spent several years teaching at St. Henry Elementary School in Erlanger, Ky., before reapplying to the Franciscans. On Aug. 15, 1967, Fr. Carl was again invested as a novice, this time at Oldenburg, Indiana. After professing his first vows in 1968, he continued his studies at Duns Scotus College, and then at St. Leonard College in Centerville, Ohio, where he made his solemn vows on Sept. 4, 1971. Fr. Carl was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1974.

His first assignment after ordination was to the faculty at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati. After two years, he moved to Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., where he taught for nine years, and ministered as guardian of St. Julian Friary. In 1985, Fr. Carl returned to Ohio to minister in various capacities. He was chaplain at St. Leonard Center in Centerville for a year and served as pastor for the Sunday Community. He returned to his alma mater, teaching for two years at Catholic Central High School before teaching for a year at Bishop Fenwick High School in Middletown. In 1990, Fr. Carl moved to Detroit as a member of the staff at the Franciscan School of Evangelization, and then as a faculty member at Bishop Foley High School in Madison Heights. During this time, he also did an internship at the Detroit Center for Spiritual Direction.

In 2001, Fr. Carl took a sabbatical year to study at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, before moving to Easton, Pa., as a member of the retreat team at St. Francis Retreat House. Fr. Carl moved to Oldenburg in 2004 to minister as chaplain for the Oldenburg Franciscan Sisters and, for a time, as campus minister at Immaculate Conception Academy. Fr. Carl had another sabbatical in 2013, before taking on the ministry of director of the province Office for Senior Friars. He retired to St. Margaret Hall in 2016.

Fr. Carl was preceded in death by his parents and two of his sisters, Donna Miller and Leah Rader. He is survived by his sister, Sr. Karen Hawver, SC, and nieces and nephews. He is also survived by profession classmates Frs. Dan Anderson, Jim Bok and Pat McCloskey, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, as well as Brs. Gordon Boykin, Bruce Michalek and George Ward of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province. Friars and friends will receive Fr. Carl’s body at St. Clement Church in Cincinnati on Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial follows at 11 a.m. Interment will take place after Mass in the friars’ plot at St. Mary Cemetery. Memorials may be made in care of FriarWorks, 1615 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202. Personal expressions of sympathy may be sent to Sr. Karen Hawver, SC, 4632 15 Mile Road, #217, Sterling Heights, Mich. 48310.

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