Father Richling was a ‘people person’

Father Theodore Richling Jr. loved being around people.

“When people gathered, he would be there,” said Father Michael Gutgsell, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Springfield and defender of the bond of the Metropolitan Tribunal for the archdiocese.

“He was a people person,” Father Gutgsell said of Father Richling, who died Dec. 23 at age 75.

A funeral Mass was held Dec. 30 at St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha.

He grew up in Omaha in Holy Cross and Christ the King parishes, attended Creighton Preparatory High School, and graduated from Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri, and the former Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa.

Father Richling was ordained in 1971. He served at nearly a dozen parishes across the archdiocese and was involved in numerous organizations.

He was pastor of the former Assumption Parish in Lynch, St. Bonaventure in Raeville and St. Rose of Lima in Genoa, and was associate pastor of St. Columbkille Parish in Papillion, the former St. Richard, St. Cecilia, Christ the King, St. Leo the Great, St. Bernard and Assumption parishes in Omaha, and St. Patrick in Fremont.

He was involved in the Legion of Mary, Third Order of St. Francis, Knights of Columbus and Charismatic Renewal, Father Gutgsell said. He also was past-president of the Lions Club and Ducks Unlimited, and was a chaplain in several groups in the city.

Father Richling also taught hunter safety and belonged to the Omaha Magical Society. He performed magic tricks at various events and for schoolchildren, Father Gutgsell said. “There’s no end to the things he was involved in.”

He was placed on disability in 1997, living at the St. John Vianney Residence and later at the Immanuel Fontenelle Nursing Home, both in Omaha.

Father Richling was preceded in death by his parents, Douglas County District Court Judge Theodore Richling and Ruth McMullen Richling, and brother, Brian Richling. He is survived by siblings and spouses, Dr. Dennis and Colleen Richling, Larry and Mary Richling, Michele and Scott Gifford, John and Vicki Richling and Carra Richling; nieces and nephews.