Fr. Richard Brunskill, 77, dies; visitation, funeral Mass are in Chatsworth Jan. 27

Father Richard Brunskill

CHATSWORTH — A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Sts. Peter and Paul Church here at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27, for Father Richard W. Brunskill, a senior priest of the Diocese of Peoria and the former pastor of nine of its parishes.

Father Brunskill died on Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022, at Piper City Rehab and Living Center in Piper City. He was 77.

Visitation will take place at Sts. Peter and Paul Church, 406 N. Fifth St. in Chatsworth, next Thursday from 10 a.m. until the time of the funeral Mass.

Burial will be in Camp Esmen Cemetery in rural Odell.

Born Aug. 20, 1944, in Pontiac to Byron and Jayne L. (Tallman) Brunskill, he was a 1962 graduate of Pontiac Township High School. After earning bachelor and master’s degrees in English from Illinois State University in Normal, he taught English, journalism and speech for 12 years at Chatsworth High School.

Baptized in the Episcopal Church, his interest in the Catholic faith was sparked through a friendship with a priest as well as his reading of Scripture and the viewing of Bishop Fulton Sheen on television. He began taking instructions and, in 1974, was received into the Catholic Church along with his parents.

The call to the Catholic Church was soon followed by a call to the priesthood. He studied at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana and was ordained on May 28, 1983, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

Father Brunskill’s first assignment was as parochial vicar at Holy Trinity Parish in Bloomington. Three years later, he was named chaplain of Central Catholic High School, also in Bloomington.

From 1989 to 1992, Father Brunskill was pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Colfax, and St. Rose, Strawn, followed by four years as pastor of St. Theresa Parish in Earlville. His longest pastorate was at Sts. Peter and Paul in Chatsworth, where he guided that faith community from 1996 to 2007, also serving as pastor of St. John, Cullom, for the first five years and St. James in Forrest for the final six years of that assignment.

After one year as pastor of St. Mary Parish in Westville, he guided St. Patrick Parish, Havana, and Immaculate Conception, Manito, from 2008 until he was granted senior status for health reasons in 2010.

His retirement years were spent in Piper City, where he assisted at area parishes.

“I have loved my years in the priesthood and I have loved the people,” he told The Catholic Post in 2008 on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his ordination. “I always emphasize to people that they are loved — they don’t hear that enough.”

Father Brunskill is survived a sister, Barbara Brunskill, of Clovis, California. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Craig Brunskill.

Memorials may be made to Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Chatsworth.


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