Father William dies at 83

St. Germaine priest led efforts to build gym & remodel church

(From Sept. 27, 2012

A priest who spent more than half his years in the clergy at St. Germaine Church in Oak Lawn is being remembered for, among other things, founding a program for unwed pregnant women and his love of traveling.

The Rev. William O. Goedert, beloved pastor emeritus at St. Germaine, died Sept. 21 at the parish rectory. He was 83.

Father William was a priest for 57 years, more than half of which was at St. Germaine, said St. Germaine Pastor Father Mike Furlan, a close friend of Father William's. He served as pastor for 18 years before moving to St. Walter Parish in Chicago in 1995, then returned St. Germaine in 1999 when he retired.

"He constantly gave me advice, and I loved it," Furlan said. "He gave me insider information on the parish and how things worked, and gave me background on the parishioners, which helped me understand more about them."

Furlan came to St. Germaine's in 2002 and developed a close friendship with Father William. The two priests had known each other for 37 years but had never become close friends.

"When I first moved here, I lived right across the hall from him," Furlan said. "He was a gentle, friendly person. Everyone here said he was wonderful."

Father William spearheaded efforts to remodel the church, and by reconfiguring the congregation seating area brought people closer to the altar, Furlan said. He also led the construction of the St. Germaine School gymnasium and started several programs including the courage program for unwed pregnant women and religious education for children with special needs.

Despite his devotion to the church, Father William made time for other interests including traveling, oceanic cruises, golfing, skiing and sailing, Furlan said.

"He cruised around South America, in the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic Ocean, to the Panama Canal, through the Caribbean - everywhere except the Far East," Furlan said. "He loved the Holy Land, and traveled there a few times."

Father William attended Quigley Seminary in Chicago and began his career at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. He eventually worked his way up to the position of superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. He taught at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, where he served as spiritual director of students, and in 1971 became the president of Niles College of Loyola University, which is now St. Joseph College Seminary in Chicago. He also taught at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

Visitation for Father William was held Sept. 24 at St. Germaine Church in Oak Lawn. A funeral Mass was held Sept. 25 at the church. Interment was private.

Father William is survived by his nephews, Daniel and William; his nieces, Elizabeth Duffy, Paula Szakacs, Patricia Rogers, Jacqueline Konaszewski, Katherine Rotondi and Monica Sheerin; six great-nieces; six great-nephews; one grandniece and one grandnephew.

Father William was born in Iowa. He was a past president of the Presbyteral Senate and a board member of the Priests' Retirement Board and Knight Commander of the Holy Sepulchre.