Date of death: 7/17/2010
Saint Meinrad Class: O 1957
Father John W. Lefler, a retired priest of the Diocese of Evansville, died at the Woodmont Nursing Home in Boonville. He was 78.When he got sick, and retired at age 62, some people said it was so sad, such a shame, but I think it was God’s plan,” said Robert Hildenbrand.Father Lefler had the memory loss symptoms of Altzheimers, but “sick like he was, whatever, he touched so many people. People came out of the woodwork to help him. He had his ministry, even to the end.Hildenbrand, Ramon Will and Pete Keethers are members of the Boonville Knights of Columbus Council 10257 who starting doing things for their council chaplain, Father Lefler, 20 years ago – fixing up his house in the early years, and visiting him at the nursing home in recent years.Father Lowell Will brought Communion to Father Lefler every day, according to Hildenbrand, because “that is part of what priests should be doing for each other.Father Lefler was born Aug. 12, 1931, in Snake Run, the son of William and Mary Obert Lefler, members of St. Bernard Church.Father Lefler’s seminary studies were at Saint Meinrad Seminary and in Innsbruck, Austria. He was ordained a priest on April 6, 1957.Father Lefler’s first assignment was to Sacred Heart Church in Evansville as assistant pastor. Subsequent assignments in Evansville included Assumption Cathedral and St. Boniface Church. He taught at Magister Noster Latin School from 1964 to 1968.In 1968, he was named pastor of All Saints Church in Cannelburg, and added additional responsibilities as administrator of St. Patrick Church, Corning, from 1970 to 1974. He was Chaplain of the Washington, IN, Legion of Mary from 1968 to 1972.He was named pastor of St. Clement Church in Boonville in 1974, then of Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Petersburg in 1976.After a period of health leave in 1980, he returned to active ministry as associate pastor of St. Joseph Church in Evansville, then of Christ the King Church in Evansville.He was appointed pastor of St. Martin Church in Chrisney in 1984. In 1988, he took health leave until becoming a member of the Clergy Assistance Pool in January 1990. He retired in 1994.He is survived by three sisters, Mary E. Lefler of Fort Branch, Patricia Hall of Fort Branch, and Dorothy Morgan of Littleton, CO. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Joseph Lefler in 1933 and Richard P. Lefler in 2002.Published in the Evansville Courier and Press July 22, 2010.