Funeral services in Ottawa for Fr. Leo Gildner, 82

OTTAWA — A Mass of Christian Burial was offered on Thursday morning, March 18, at St. Francis of Assisi Church here for Father Leo H. Gildner, pastor emeritus who served the parish for 22 years and was a former diocesan director of cemeteries.

Father Gildner, a native of Bloomington who had been on senior priest status since 1998, died Saturday, March 13, at Ottawa Pavilion. He was 82.
Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was principal celebrant of the funeral Mass, with Father George Thompson as homilist. Burial was in St. Joseph Cemetery in Bloomington.

Born Sept. 21, 1927, in Bloomington to Leo and Sylvia (Helwig) Gildner, he attended Holy Trinity Grade School and Trinity High School. After one year at St. Bede College in Peru, he transferred to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, from which he earned a philosophy degree in 1949.

Father Gildner completed his studies for the priesthood at St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and was ordained a priest of the Peoria diocese on May 3, 1953.

His early assignments included three years as parochial vicar at Holy Family Parish, Oglesby, and two years at St. Paul’s, Odell, including teaching at St. Paul High School and service as chaplain at Dwight Veterans Hospital. After a year on the faculty of Schlarman High School in Danville, Father Gildner served from 1959 to 1966 at Alleman High School in Rock Island, where he taught sociology and religion.

He was the first resident pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in Woodhull from 1966 to 1971, and for the next five years was vicar adjutor and later co-pastor of St. Mary’s, Moline.

Father Gildner was named pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Ottawa in 1976, and served the parish until his retirement in 1998. From 1977 to 1985, he was also vicar of the Ottawa vicariate.

He was Diocesan Director of Cemeteries from 1974 to 1993.

His parents and a sister, Phyllis Osborn, preceded him in death.
Memorials may be directed to St. Francis of Assisi Improvement Fund or to Masses.

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