Deacon remembered for service to veterans, others

A deacon whose 13 years of service to the church included helping with baptisms and ministry to the grieving died Oct. 14. Deacon Charles Luczynski of St. John Vianney Parish in Omaha was 70.

A funeral Mass was held Oct. 20 at St. John Vianney Church. Interment with military honors was at St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery, also in Omaha.

Deacon Harold Sawtelle, who delivered the eulogy, said he and Deacon Luczynski served the parish in various ways together since the 1980s. Ordained just a year before Deacon Luczynski, he will miss his “bear hugs” and praying together, Deacon Sawtelle said.

“He was the kind of guy who would give the shirt off his back for anybody,” he said.

Deacon Sawtelle and Father Richard Reiser, pastor, said Deacon Luczynski suffered from a form of dementia the last several years. But while he could, he helped with baptisms and other ministries in the parish, Father Reiser said.

He suffered through the death of his wife, JoAnne, in a car accident in Florida in 1997, and shortly after his ordination in 2004 he began helping others through the grieving process in the archdiocese’s widowed, divorced and bereavement ministries, Deacon Sawtelle said.

An Army Ranger through two tours in Vietnam with the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions, Deacon Luczynski also served fellow veterans, and in 2010 received the Medal of Valor for his end-of-life work with veterans and their caregivers through the Nebraska Hospice-Veteran Partnership.

“He touched a lot of lives,” Deacon Sawtelle said.

In addition to his wife, Deacon Luczynski was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Eleanor. Survivors include his son, Matthew, daughter and son-in-law Terri and Roger Hagedorn, all in Omaha; two grandchildren, three brothers and five sisters.

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