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Archives Funeral for Father Sturtz to be celebrated May 25

May 26, 2021

Father Richard S. Sturtz, age 90, passed into new life on May 19, 2021, his 65th anniversary of ordination, at St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg.

On Monday, May 24 at 2 p.m. Father Joseph Morgan, vicar general and cathedral rector, will preside over the reception of the body at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Calling hours will continue until 5 p.m. At that time, Deacon Anthony Pastizzo will lead Evening Prayer.

Most Reverend Terry R. LaValley, bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday, May 25 at 11 a.m., with the priests of the diocese concelebrating. Father Kevin O’Brien will offer the homily. Father Sturtz will be laid to rest in the family plot at Lowville Rural Cemetery.

Richard Sturtz was born on January 16, 1931, the son of John and Anna (Bolliver) Sturtz in Lowville.

After graduating from Lowville Academy and Union Free School, he began his college career at Holy Cross College in Worchester, Massachusetts in 1948. He entered seminary at Wadhams Hall in Ogdensburg in 1949. After graduation, he attended Theological College at Catholic University in Washington, DC, graduating in 1956.
Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg ordained Father Sturtz on May 19, 1956 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg. Father Sturtz continued graduate studies at Catholic University earning a master’s degree in Library Science. His first summer after ordination, he served as parochial assistant at Immaculate Conception Church in Brownville. The summer of 1957, he was named parochial assistant at St. Andrew’s Church in Sackets Harbor.

In September 1957, he began a long and distinguished career at the diocesan seminary, Wadhams Hall, as Librarian and instructor in Religious Studies and English. While the high school seminary program existed, he taught Latin. Supporting the effort to have Wadhams Hall accredited to award degrees, he built the library from 3,000 to 50,000 volumes. He later taught philosophy and served as assistant spiritual director and spiritual director for the seminary. He oversaw two expansions of the library, growing the collection to nearly 100,000. Resigning as librarian, he taught Latin and Greek. In 1996, the library was named in his honor.

Father Sturtz returned to parish life in 1983 to serve as pastor of Holy Name Church in Au Sable Forks and St. Matthew’s Church in Black Brook. In 1988, he relocated to lead St. Alexander’s Church in Morrisonville and in 1991 also began serving as pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Treadwell Mills. In 1994, Father Sturtz spent a short time as administrator of St. Henry’s Church in Long Lake and St. Therese Church in Newcomb.

During a six-month sabbatical in 1995, he pursued scripture studies in Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. He served as pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Schroon Lake and St. Joseph’s Church in Olmsteadville from 1995 until his retirement in 2014.

After retiring, Father Sturtz returned to Ogdensburg, living at the rectory at Notre Dame and later St. Mary’s Cathedral. Throughout retirement he served as chaplain to the residents and staff of St. Joseph’s Home. Being unable to minister through the COVID-19 lockdown of nursing homes pained him greatly.

Father Sturtz described himself as an avid skier, so-so golfer and a world traveler to over 25 countries, visiting every continent beside Antarctica.

Father Richard Sturtz is predeceased by his parents and brother and sister-in-law John and Margaret Sturtz. He is survived by three nieces and their families, Anne Sturtz, Katherine and Patrick Morris; and their children Megan and Caitlyn, and Claire and Stephen Poulin; and their children Christopher and Nicholas; along with grand-nieces and nephews and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be offered in Father Sturtz’s honor to St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg.

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