The late Father Stephen Joseph Gutgsell was a supporter of the St. John Paul II Classical Academy in Blair.


Scholarship fundraiser to honor late priest

The late Father Stephen Gutgsell encouraged and supported St. John Paul II Classical Academy in Blair – even offering to teach Latin, and possibly Church history, to students.

Now the academy is honoring Father Gutgsell, offering the first of what it hopes to be an annual event: the Father Stephen J. Gutgsell Scholarship Fundraiser Dinner and Silent Auction, slated for 5 to 9:30 p.m. on April 20 at the St. Francis Borgia Parish Hall in Blair.

Father Gutgsell “was all things education, either teaching adults or teaching children,” said Rebecca Crotty, a board member for the academy, located on the grounds of St. Francis Borgia. “He was all in for all of it.”

The St. John Paul II Classical Academy, a private school, opened last fall for students in kindergarten through third grade, with hopes to keep expanding grades as it grows.

“When we said we were going to open the academy, he was very supportive,” Crotty said. “He encouraged us, and he’s part of who we are, really. And we know he is looking after us.”

Father Gutgsell had served as an associate pastor at St. Francis Borgia before becoming pastoral administrator of St. John the Baptist Parish in Fort Calhoun.

He died there Dec. 10 of multiple stab wounds following an early morning home invasion at the parish’s rectory, according to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. He was 65. 

For more information on the dinner, go to


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