Father Gill held a special place in people's hearts
By LISA SCHULTE
The Catholic Voice
|FATHER EDWARD GILL|
His smile just kind of radiated who he was, said Sister Agatha Marie Sadler of the late Father Edward Gill.
Friends of the late Father Edward Gill said they will remember him as a kind and loving man who welcomed all God's people with an Irish twinkle in his eye.
'He certainly was a wonderful pastor to all," said Sister Agatha Marie Sadler, SSSF, who worked with Father Gill for 26 years and was his housekeeper in St. Edward. 'Within our home here, he created a very spiritual home. We always said our daily prayers together, our breviary, rosary, Mass. He was a very prayerful person to live with. He was very faith-filled."
Father Gill died Jan. 7 in the Boone County Health Center in Albion at the age of 92. He is preceded in death by his parents, John and Lillian Gill, his sister, Lillian Switzer, brothers Jeremiah and John, and two infant brothers. He is survived by several nieces and nephews.
Funeral services were held Jan. 11 at St. Michael Church in Albion. Burial took place Jan. 13 at Rose Hill Burial Park in Oklahoma City, Okla., where his parents are buried.
Born in Omaha May 22, 1913, Father Gill attended Sacred Heart School and Creighton Prep. He continued his education at Nazareth Hall Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., and St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Co. He was ordained in 1941.
In the nearly 60 years Father Gill was in active ministry in the Archdiocese of Omaha he served at St. Peter and St. Agnes parishes in Omaha; St. Michael Parish in Coleridge; Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk; St. Paul Parish in Plainview; Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Butte; St. Leonard Parish in Madison; St. Joseph Parish in Atkinson; St. Michael Parish in Central City; St. Peter Parish in Stanton; and St. Edward Parish in St. Edward.
With the assistance of Sister Agatha Marie and Sister Maxelinda Deurmier, SSSF, who died in September 2005, Father Gill planned liturgies, supported Catholic education, ministered to shut-ins, led retreats and taught religious education classes.
He retired in 1999, but continued to serve the Albion and St. Edward communities until 2004 when his health began to deteriorate and he moved into the Cloverlodge Care Center.
Father Gill liked to golf, read and listen to music.
'He was always happy. He lived with an aura of joy and even as sick as he was, the nurses would say, "˜Oh, that smile.' It grabbed everyone," Sister Agatha Marie said. 'His smile just kind of radiated who he was."
Father Gill enjoyed sharing his love of the Irish culture with people. On St. Patrick's Day he would go to the nursing home wearing something green and sing Irish songs for the residents.
'He had those Irish eyes. They had a real sparkle in them," Sister Agatha Marie said.
Father Frank Baumert, pastor of Holy Name Parish in Omaha, worked with Father Gill while serving as pastor of St. Michael Parish in Albion. The two loved to talk about the blessings of the priesthood, Father Baumert said.
'He absolutely loved being a priest. Anytime you talked to him, you talked about the priesthood because he just loved being a priest. He absolutely loved it," he said. 'His whole priesthood, he was not great at anything, but he was good at everything. His heart was bigger than his body."
Father Gill had a strong tie to the Knights of Columbus, serving as the chaplain for the Knights of the Fourth degree in the St. Edward area. The Knights were the honor guard at the funeral and held a rosary for him before the funeral.
'He was the typical image of a rural priest who just goes about his business, doesn't create problems," Father Baumert said. 'Instead, he created a real sense of being at home in the church with a friend who just happens to be a priest."