Father Joe Gartner

Father Joe GartnerCINCINNATI—Father Joe Gartner, a Glenmary Home Missioner for 54 years, died Nov. 5, 2005, in Cincinnati. Born April 5, 1914, in Brooklyn, N.Y., Father Joe, 91, died peacefully at Mercy Franciscan Terrace, a Cincinnati retirement center.

One of seven children of Joseph Sr. and Julia, Father Gartner was ordained in 1940 for the Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y. Father Gartner served as assistant pastor at several parishes during his time as a diocesan priest. In 1951, he took his First Oath to Glenmary and began his decades of service to the home missions. Father Gartner received his canon law degree from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., in 1955.

His ministry in the home missions was widespread and took him to the majority of the mission areas where Glenmary has served. He also spent a significant part of his ministry working and teaching in Glenmary's formation programs in both Cincinnati and Fairfield, Conn. As superior of the Fairfield program, he also taught moral theology, canon law and Latin.

With his knowledge of canon law, he helped many people, said Father Dan Dorsey, president of Glenmary. "He was a brilliant man," he says, adding that even in "retirement" his mind was never still. "Much of his time during the last years of his life were spent in prayer for the missions and the Church," Father Dorsey said.

In 1981 Father Gartner retired from assigned ministry and began a long association with the mission Diocese of Covington, Ky. He lived at St. Aloysius Church in Covington, while working at the Diocese of Covington's Marriage Tribunal as Defender of the Bond and Tribunal Judge. He resided in Covington until 1987 when he moved to Glenmary Headquarters in nearby Cincinnati. He remained at the Covington marriage tribunal until 1992.

He loved discussing and reading about current events related to the Church on the local, national and international levels.