February 15, 2011

Obituary for Fr. George H. Klimas

Local priest was classmate with John Paul II in Nazi occupied Poland

SAGINAW – The Rev. George H. Klimas, 90, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Saginaw, died Sunday, February 13, 2011 at the St. Francis Home.

He was born on August 9, 1920 in Sosnowiec, Poland, son of Regina (Bonczkiewvcz) and Joseph Klimas. During the Nazi occupation of Poland from 1939 to 1945, he prepared for his vocation in Krakow’s underground seminary and was a classmate with Karol Wojtyla – who later became known to the world as Pope John Paul II (1978-2005).

Father Klimas came to the United States for his theology formation and enrolled at Ss. Cyril & Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 1951 by the Most Rev. Stephen S. Woznicki at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw to minister in the Diocese of Saginaw. Father Klimas became a U.S. citizen on December 12, 1956.

Father Klimas first served as assistant pastor at St. Mary Parish in Alpena during the summer of 1951 and then as assistant pastor at St. Andrew Parish in Saginaw from 1951 to 1953. From 1953 to 1962 he served as administrator at St. George Parish in Saginaw and he was pastor at St. Dominic Parish in Metz from 1962 to 1970. He finally served as pastor at St. Columbkille Parish at Sheridan Corners in Ubly from 1970 until he was granted senior priest status (retirement) in 1976.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, February 18, 2011 at St. Ignatius Church, 585 S. Third St., in Rogers City. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, and the Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Bishop of Gaylord, will concelebrate. The Rev. Wolfgang Streichardt will preach the homily. Internment will take place at the St. Dominic Cemetery in Metz.

Visitation will take place from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2011, at the Beck Funeral Home, 229 N. First St., in Rogers City with a rosary prayer at 6:30 p.m. and vigil liturgy at 7:00 p.m.

Memorials may be given for Masses. Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Beck Funeral Home of Rogers City.

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