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.

Removal of ash trees nears finish in Hills

40 specimens found infested by ash borer

By Kelly White

A tree-removal project that began last month in Palos Hills should be completed within a week, according to a city alderman.

The Palos Hills Public Works Department has since December been removing ash trees in an effort to combat the spread of the tree-killing emerald ash borer. The city had determined 40 trees were infested with the invasive beetle, which is native to Asia and has spread to several states since first being reported in Michigan in 2002.

"Within the next week or two, tree removal work will be completed for this season and work efforts will shift to parkway tree trimming," Palos Hills Alderman Frank Williams (5th Ward) said at the City Council's committee meeting Jan. 17.

The Public Works Department will also remove buckthorn, a thorny shrub or small tree that bears dark blue berries. Buckthorn is so-named because of a woody spine on the end of each twig in many species. Buckthorn, weeds, cattails and scrub trees have been removed from along Horseman's Horse Trail between 90th Avenue to Kean Avenue, Maple Crest Retention Pond, and the east end of Pleasure Lake, among other areas in town.

Donations to Standard Bank offer 'Holiday Hope' for Park Lawn

From Standard Bank

Working together, the employees and customers of seven Standard Bank branches made the holiday season a little brighter for Southland non-profit Park Lawn and the people it serves.

Their donation of over $5,300 will go to the agency's "Angel Fund," which provides assistance with everyday living expenses as well as specialized equipment for individuals with a wide range of intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Donations to the bank's "Holiday Hope for Park Lawn" program were made by purchasing ornaments to decorate the holiday trees located in each of the seven participating branches.

Founded in 1955, Park Lawn offers a variety of programs and services such as vocational and developmental training, residential facilities and supported employment. The agency's Angel Fund was created to meet the needs that Social Security and other programs don't cover, and to ensure that all residents and clients feel unique, loved and valued. For more information visit

Park Lawn is just one of many community organizations that has benefited from Standard Bank's tradition of service. With 42 branches in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, the bank's efforts have supported schools, veterans organizations, food pantries and other organizations in every neighborhood they serve.

"Standard Bank continuously strives to demonstrate their commitment to the communities they serve through various partnerships and volunteering efforts. Partnering with Park Lawn here in Oak Lawn has been relationship we truly value and are proud to be a long time supporter, said branch manager Vicki Scanlon. Through our seasonal Holiday Hope for Park Lawn fundraising efforts we were able to help "our neighbors" help others

Help for Haitians

Children in Haiti are swinging and sliding on the playground seen here thanks to a joint effort between the Oak Lawn Park District and Kids Around the World, an organization that refurbishes and reinstalls donated playground equipment in impoverished areas throughout the world.

Kids Around the World representatives visited the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge in Oak Lawn last June to remove the playground equipment on the site, and then traveled to Haiti to install it. A new tree play structure and a splash pad were installed at Wolfe Wildlife Refuge as part of a renovation project. The used equipment went to the Children of Hope organization in Haiti.

This week in THEREPORTER history

News and events from our archives

50 years ago
Jan. 31, 1963

A Palos Hills husband and wife nearly died of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home in the 9000 block of 111th Street Jan. 26. The couple was found by the woman's mother, and they were taken to Christ Hospital with severe carbon monoxide poisoning. Faulty adjustment of baffle plates in a gas space heater spread the fumes throughout the house, police said..


Readers of The Reporter were asked to come up with names for two new high schools being built for High School District 218.

One building was a freshman and sophomore school at 129th Street and Ridgeland Avenue, now Alan B. Shepard High School in Palos Heights.

The other building was a junior and senior school at 106th Street and Central Avenue, now Richards High School in Oak Lawn.

25 years ago
Feb. 4, 1988

Carl E. Richards, the father of Regional Publishing owner and publisher Charles Richards, died Jan. 30 in Houston. He was 81.

Richards founded the Regional News in Palos Heights in 1947, and was publisher from 1947 to 1970. The Regional News started as a monthly news booklet by Harwell West, and when he decided to stop publishing it, Carl went to "talk" to him and came home and told his wife, Virginia, that he had bought The Regional News. The first office was the couple's dining room.


Palos Hills started a recycling program for bottles and cans. Oak Lawn had a recycling program for six months at the time for bottles, cans and glass.