Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Rev. J. S. Widmann

A photograph of Rev. Joseph S. Widmann appears in the book HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE, available on Google Books, and in most larger Ohio libraries. Joseph S. Widmann was the son of Daniel and Mary Haffner Widmann, of Sandusky County, Ohio. He was born in Rice Township on January 4, 1861. Rev. Widmann received his education at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, and St. Mary Seminary in Cleveland, Ohio. Rev. Widmann was ordained for the priesthood on April 8, 1892.

Rev. Widmann began his position as curate (one who assists a rector) at St. Mary's Catholic Church on 1892. He served in that capacity for ten years, and then was the Pastor of St. Mary's parish for seventeen years. Father Widmann was devoted to the parish of St. Mary's Church, and also was very active in the community. The December 18, 1918 Sandusky Register stated that "Sandusky had no more loyal or enthusiastic citizen in Chamber of Commerce, the old Business Men's Association, and other acitivies...he was a supporter of any project that seemed likely to advance the city's interests." On October 14, 1903, Rev. J. S. Widmann led in prayer at the convention of the Ohio Woman Suffrage Association, held in Sandusky. It was through Father Widmann's efforts that the St. Mary's school building was built, the cornerstone having been set in 1909. The Register article continued, "This building stands as monument to his indefatigable zeal and ability.

Father Widmann passed away on December 10, 1918, after suffering a stroke. Church bells tolled at the report of Rev. Widmann's death. He had been greatly admired by not only church members, but by citizens throughout Sandusky and Erie County. Rev. Widmann's funeral was largely attended, and he was buried in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Sandusky.

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