Father Robert "Doc" Rademacher
CINCINNATI—Father Robert "Doc" Rademacher, 94, a native of St. Paul, Minn., and a Glenmary Home Missioner for 65 years, died Sept. 25 in Cincinnati. Father Rademacher's long career included more than 50 years of service in the home missions of the United States.
"Father Bob in many ways embodied the work of a missioner," said Glenmary president Father Chet Artysiewicz. "He spent his entire career in the missions, desiring to give everything of himself to Christ and to the people he served. From his time as an army medic to his more than six decades as a Glenmarian, Father Bob was all about serving others."
Rademacher's path to ministry began when he served in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1946. As a medic, he worked at hospitals in the Philippines and Japan. Near the end of his time in Japan, Rademacher encountered a Catholic doctor who suggested he see a priest about exploring a possible religious vocation. The idea took hold in him and he joined the seminary upon his return. A fellow veteran, future Glenmary Father Frank Gardner, was at the same seminary preparing for Glenmary priesthood. He introduced Rademacher to the Home Missioners of America.
Father Rademacher professed his Final Oath as a Glenmarian in 1954 and was ordained as a priest in 1955. His first assignment took him to Georgia, where he served as associate pastor (1955-57) and then as pastor (1957-60) at St. Matthew mission in Statesboro. Pastorates followed in Gate City, Va. (1960-65) and New Albany Miss. (1965-70). He returned to Virginia for the rest of his active ministry, serving from 1976 to 1984 as pastor at Sacred Heart mission in Big Stone Gap, Va. Father Rademacher's longest assignment was as pastor at St. Joseph Church in Clintwood, Va. He was pastor there from 1989 until taking Glenmary senior membership in 1998. He remained in Clintwood as sacramental minister until 2006 when he moved to the Glenmary residence in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Father Rademacher was awarded the Peace and Justice Award from the Appalachian Peace Education Center in 2004, and the Catholic Committee of Appalachia's Bishop Walter Sullivan Award in 2005.
Father Robert was the second of six children of Edward and Mathilda (Degros) Rademacher. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Donald and Edward Rademacher, and by his sisters Eleanore Gonyea and Helen (Eugene) Shomshak. He is survived by sisters Barbara Reif and Mary Peterson, nieces, nephews, fellow missioners and friends.
Reception of the body will take place Monday, Oct. 3, at 4:30 p.m. at Our Lady of the Fields Chapel, 4085 Glenmary Trace, Fairfield, Ohio. Visitation will will follow. A wake service will begin at 7 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at St. Matthias Catholic Church, 1050 W. Kemper Rd., Cincinnati, Ohio. Burial will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Glenmary Home Missioners, P.O. Box 465618, Cincinnati, Ohio 45246.
"Some of us, who are members of the Appalachian Peace Education Center, were having vigils, teach-ins by professors at a near-by college, letters to the editor, explaining why there should be no war with Iraq, that it would cause a great upheaval in the Mid-East. We published a newsletter giving facts to back up our efforts. We continue to work for peace with justice for all peoples, in the face of opposition." (2003)
Read more about Father Bob's past and current ministry:
- Father Bob Still Activist in 'Retirement'