Father Stortz was parish priest, hospital chaplain

Father Donald Stortz had a way of connecting with people – in preaching, sharing the Gospel, telling stories and visiting with those he met, a fellow priest said.

Father Stortz, a retired priest of the Omaha archdiocese, died May 24 in Omaha. He was 82.

A memorial Mass will be offered June 26 at St. Pius X Church in Omaha.

Father Stortz was known for his homilies.

Those who knew him well said they sometimes saw a glint in his eye when he preached, said Father Michael Eckley, a former pastor of St. Pius X Parish, where Father Stortz often said Mass. Father Eckley is now interim executive director of Catholic Charities of Omaha and servant minister to priests of the archdiocese.

“He loved to tell stories,” Father Eckley said of Father Stortz. “He was a talker,” and someone who was close to his family.

A native of Creighton, Father Stortz grew up in St. Ludger Parish and attended the former St. Ludger Academy.

He attended Conception Seminary in Conception, Missouri, and Creighton University in Omaha, and was ordained in 1964 at St. Ludger Church by Bishop Lambert Hoch (his cousin) of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota, diocese.

Father Stortz served as an assistant pastor at the following parishes: St. Bernard in Omaha, 1964 to 1965; St. Bernadette in Bellevue, 1965 to 1966; St. Pius X in Omaha, 1968 to 1969; and St. Philip Neri in Omaha, 1969 to 1970.

He was also a chaplain and teacher at Boys Town in Omaha from 1966 to 1968.

Father Stortz was named administrator of St. Joseph Parish in Constance in 1970, where he served for four years. As a pastor, he served at St. William Mission in Niobrara, 1974 to 1978; St. Joseph in Platte Center, 1978 to 1985; Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Tilden, 1985 to 1988; St. Frances de Chantal in Randolph, 1988 to 1991; and St. Andrew in Bloomfield, 1992 to 1994.

He was involved in hospital ministry while in residence at St. Cecilia Parish in Omaha from 1994 to 2000.

Father Stortz has been retired since 2005. He also celebrated Mass at St. Pius X and the former Holy Family parishes in Omaha.

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