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Archives Remembering Father Richard S. Sturtz

May 26, 2021

By Darcy Fargo

OGDENSBURG – While the bulk of his priesthood was spent at Wadhams Hall Seminary College, Father Richard S. Sturtz will be remembered also for his sense of adventure.

Father Sturtz died May 19 in Ogdensburg after a brief illness. A full obituary can be found here.

“Personally speaking, Father Sturtz was a gift,” said Father William G. Muench, a longtime friend of Father Sturtz. “From my point of view, he dragged me into a lot of things – like many of the trips we took. With a lot of the things we did, he was the one that motivated it, he was the one that was interested in it, and he dragged me into it. Even with skiing, he pulled me along. He was truly a gift, and he kept my life very active, that’s for sure.”

Father Muench said he and Father Sturtz became friends in the 1970s, when Father Sturtz encouraged Father Muench to join him and Msgr. Peter R. Riani skiing.

“They were both involved in Wadhams Hall,” Father Muench said. “Wadhams Hall used to sponsor a priest group to go up to Canada skiing, usually during the break in January. I got to know them both pretty well that way. Later, they invited me to go on some of their trips. That began our years of traveling.”

In addition to journeys to skiing destinations, Father Muench joined Father Sturtz and Msgr. Riani for trips to New Zealand, Australia, China and various locations in Africa.

“We had a good, good friendship, and we had opportunities to see the world together,” Father Muench said.
While Father Sturtz took great joy in his years at Wadhams Hall, Father Muench noted he also loved his time as a pastor.

“(Father Sturtz) always liked that people knew he was involved in the formation of seminarians who would go on to become priests,” Father Muench said. “He became a pastor after his time in the seminary. He was well liked as a pastor. He really, really cared about his parishioners. He enjoyed working with them. He made many, many good friends in the parishes where he was assigned.”

After retirement, Father Sturtz began ministering at St. Joseph’s Home in Ogdensburg.

“He loved every part of being a priest, but he really, really cared about those who were sick or ailing, and he wanted to be near them and comfort them,” Father Muench said. “It was an important part of his ministry.”

In general, Father Muench said Father Sturtz was a kind and compassionate man.

“He was easy to get to know and comfortable to be with. He had a good sense of humor,” Father Muench said, laughing. “After we got to know each other, he could be challenging, as well. He was an interesting sort of person in his approach to life. People wouldn’t expect how enthusiastic and involved he could be. He was great that way.”


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