Browsing The Northern Cross

Obituaries January 2020

Father Clement Nicholas Gustin, 94
Father Clement Nicholas Gustin

The Crosier Fathers and Brothers mourn the loss of Father Clement “Clem” Nicholas Gustin, OSC, who was born Oct. 2, 1925, to Michael and Rose (Schmidt) Gustin in Flasher, North Dakota.

He died in Onamia Nov. 2, 2019 at Mille Lacs Health System Long Term Care. He was 94 years old.

Father Clem attended Flasher public schools in Flasher, North Dakota, during his elementary and high school years, Crosier Seminary Junior College in Onamia, and the Crosier House of Studies in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he earned a degree in philosophy in 1952. He continued his education at Immaculate Conception Monastery in Hastings, Nebraska, the University of Notre Dame and St. Francis College in Fort Wayne. He completed his graduate studies at the University of Michigan in 1964 with a master’s degree in classical studies.

He joined the Crosiers as a novice in 1949 and made his first profession of vows Aug. 28, 1950, in Hastings, Nebraska. He was ordained a priest May 28, 1955, in Hastings.

After his ordination, Father Clem was assigned to the Crosier House of Studies in Fort Wayne as secretary to the vicar general. He then served as associate editor and business manager for the Crosier magazine “Today’s Family” in Onamia. He was a Latin teacher at Crosier Seminary in Onamia and the Crosier House of Studies for a total of 10 years. Father Clem also worked in different capacities for the Province of St. Odilia, including as vice provincial and as novice director. He later served in parish ministry as assistant pastor, pastor, and senior associate in various parishes in Minnesota and Nebraska. In 2008, Father Clem retired to the Crosier community in Onamia, where he shared in Crosier religious life and joyfully served as liturgical organist, accompanying Crosier prayer for many years.

Father Clem’s funeral Mass was celebrated at the Crosier Priory church in Onamia on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. with a vigil beginning at noon. The burial took place in the priory cemetery following the liturgy. A luncheon was served at the priory after the service.

Father Clem is survived by his Crosier confreres, a large extended family, and five of his 14 siblings: Veronica Goeppinger, Alice (Al) Ternes, Isabelle Mahrer, Joan Eckroth, and Hugo (Martha). He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings Fred, John, Paul (Leona), Andrew (Shirley), Cecilia Hoffman, Angela Kopp, Phyllis Restivo, Carol Miller, and Irene Riehl.

Memorials are preferred to the Crosier Fathers and Brothers, P.O. Box 500, Onamia, MN 56359-0500.

Oblate Father Aloysius J. Svobodny, 96

Oblate Father Aloysius J. Svobodny, 96, of Buffalo, passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. He was born on Jan. 13, 1923, to George and Mary (Romportl) Svobodny in Minneapolis. Father Svobodny attended St. John’s Seminary in San Antonio. He was ordained on June 5, 1949, at the Cathedral of St. Paul. He preached at many parishes throughout Illinois and Minnesota. Most recently, he spent 27 years as public relations director for Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo. No matter what Father Al did, he did it in a very dedicated and wholehearted manner. Prayer and gratitude were the hallmarks of his spiritual life. In recent years, he enjoyed being in the lobby of the retreat center and saying, “Welcome to the House of Christ the King!” Preceded in death by his parents; and siblings, Gary Svobodny, Mary LeDuc, Charles Svobodny, George Svobodny, Joseph Svobodny. Father Al is survived by his sister, Veronica (Don) Leech of Mankato; nieces and nephews and their families; and friends. Visitation was from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9 at The King’s House Retreat Center, with a prayer service and rosary service at 7 p.m. Funeral Mass of Resurrection for Father Al was held Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m., with visitation beginning at 9 a.m., at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Buffalo. Burial was at St. Margaret’s Cemetery in Hopkins. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo.

Deacon James Patrick Griffiths, 85
Deacon James Patrick Griffiths

Deacon James Patrick Griffiths, 85, Hibbing, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 at home with his family by his side. He was born Jan. 21, 1934, in Hibbing to Roy A. and Margaret (Cummings) Griffiths. He attended Assumption School and Hibbing High School. He was united in the sacrament of marriage to Dorothy Sanders at Blessed Sacrament Church, and together they raised five children.

Following his permanent diaconate ordination for the Diocese of Duluth on Nov. 26, 1995, Jim was assigned to serve at St. Leo’s Parish until it closed, and then to Blessed Sacrament and Immaculate Conception Parishes. Along with his diaconal duties, he was active in several outreach programs including past board president for Parish Neighborhood Renewal, spiritual director for Cursuillo retreats, Befrienders, engaged couples weekends, St. Leo’s choir, and was requested to sing for many funerals and weddings. Many times, Jim said that he felt “privileged and blessed” for the opportunity to share his faith with his community and the residents at Guardian Angels, as well, while he was chaplain there. Jim experienced a heartbreaking moment when he realized he had to retire due to “the long goodbye.” Alzheimer’s had made its brutal appearance. Even though their minds cannot always keep up with their bodies, their hearts do. Amazingly, through it all, Jim’s unwavering nature remained peaceful and loving.

Jim was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Operating Engineers Local 49, and held a private pilot’s license. He was employed by Snyder Mining Co. and several construction companies. He also worked for Federal Electric Corp., the U.S. Air Force on the DEW (Distant Early Warning) line in Pt. Barrow, Alaska, and for IT&T in Italy on the European Transatlantic Communication Systems. He coordinated and taught the first diesel mechanics program at Hibbing Area Tech. He owned and operated Griffiths Diesel Repair.

The youngest of 10 children, he shared many fond memories while growing up on the family farm in Little Swan. Jim was a loving family man with a strong work ethic along with a witty and delightful sense of humor. He enjoyed hunting, flying, traveling and family gatherings. He had an appreciation for all kinds of music, Irish, classical, the old hymns, along with sacred choral arrangements. Most of all he enjoyed following his grandchildren as they embraced their endeavors in music and sports and on through their high school and college graduations.

Jim is survived by his wife, Dorothy; children Thomas (Kimberly) Griffiths, San Tan Valley, Ariz., Erin (Bob) Koch, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Mary (Tim) Galliford, L’Anse, Mich.; brother Bryan; sister Esther McKenzie; 10 grandchildren, Shawn (Denise Schweim) Griffiths, Kerry (Eric) Olson, Heather (Bob) Johnson, Corinn (Dr. Nathan) Tiwari, Patrick (Adrienn) Griffiths, Shannon (Chrystal) Griffiths, Lindsay (Brian) Hughes, Bradley (Jennifer) Galliford, Matthew (Clara) Galliford, and Megan Galliford; 23 great-grandchildren; sister-in-law Gladys Griffiths; many friends; and a large extended family.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two sons, James Edward and Daniel Kelly; grandson Dustin Edward; four sisters, Mary Margaret Duviver, Eleanore Lehman, Julia Schlicht, and Patricia Previtz; and three brothers, Roy, John, and Edward Griffiths.

Funeral services for Jim were 11 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hibbing. Visitation was one hour prior to the funeral Mass at the church. Jim’s family would like to express a sincere thank you to Father Gabriel Waweru, doctors, Mark Wagner, and Jeffrey Copeman for their years of guidance and wonderful care along with Fairview Range Hospice for their outstanding and compassionate care over the past few weeks, the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing, and the many prayer groups that prayed for Jim over the last decade. A private interment will be at a later date. Arrangements were with the Dougherty Funeral Home of Hibbing.