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Father Arnold Francis Reuter, at the age of 89 and a priest for 63 years, died on the Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, September 21, 2015, at Benedictine Manor in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
Father Reuter was born on September 25, 1925 in Tennyson, Wisconsin (Grant County), the fourth child of Edward and Mildred (nÃ©e Wunderlin) Reuter. He was baptized Arnold Francis on the Memorial of Saint Francis of Assisi, October 4, 1925 at Saint Andrew Parish in Tennyson. His father died on August 28, 1926, which left his mother to rear her children during the Great Depression. They moved often to where she could find work. His elementary education was in four public schools in Grant County, and four Catholic schools: Saint Maryâ€™s School in Platteville, Saint Michaelâ€™s School in Galena, Illinois, Saint Clement in Lancaster, Wisconsin, and Saint Maryâ€™s in Dubuque, Iowa. While in Galena, the family lost almost everything due to a flood in 1936 forcing them to split up. Young Arnold and his brother lived in a small apartment in Lancaster, where they attended school, and would only see their mother on weekends. His high school education was at Saint Paulâ€™s Catholic High School in Epworth, Iowa where he graduated in 1943. For the next three years, he was in the Novitiate and Juniorate of the Society of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in Techny, Illinois, remaining ever grateful for the formation he received in those years of religious life. In the fall of 1946, he became a seminarian for the Diocese of La Crosse and studied for two years of college at Saint Louis Preparatory Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri. Theological studies followed for the next four years at Saint Paul Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota and Master of Arts degree was earned in 1952. Father Reuter was ordained a priest on May 31, 1952 by Bishop John P. Tracey at Holy Cross Seminary Chapel.
Father Reuterâ€™s first assignment was as Assistant at Saint Paul Parish in Bloomer on July 9, 1952 until June 11, 1955, when he became Temporary Assistant at Saint Mary Parish in Wausau for about three months before he entered the United States Air Force as a Chaplain in September of 1955. In 1958, Father Reuter took his mother, Mildred, as his dependent and she lived with him until her death on January 11, 1985. Father Reuter served in the following military assignments: Patrick AFB, Florida, February 1956 – December 1956; Naha AB, Naha, Okinawa January 1957 – July 1958; Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah, July 1958 â€“ July 1959; Trax Field, Madison, Wisconsin, July 1059- January 1961; Det 16 TUSLOG, Izmir, Turkey, January 1961 â€“ July 1962; Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas, July 1962 â€“ February 1964; Hunter AFB, Savannah, Georgia, February 1964 â€“ July 1965; Chateauroux AS, France, July 1965 â€“ February 1967; Sandia Base (Defense Atomic Support Agency) Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 1967 â€“ December 1969, Ching Chang Kong, Taichung, Taiwan, January 1970 â€“ April 1971; Ent AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado, May 1971 â€“ April 1973; Wiesbaden AB, Wiesbaden, Germany April 1973 until his retirement from the Air Force in January 1976. Later that year, he became Pastor of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Saint Mary Ridge. In June of 1980, he became Pastor of Saint Charles Borromeo in Chippewa Falls until November 1981 when he was appointed Pastor of Saint Paul Parish in New Lisbon and Administrator of Our Lady of the Lake Mission in Castle Rock Lake. Father Reuter retired in October of 1995, but in less than two years was asked to be the Parochial Administrator of Saint James in Camp Douglas and Saint Michael in Indian Creek for about a month. During a game of golf, Father Reuter responded favorably to Father Kevin Cassidyâ€™s request to assist him during the summer at Saint Cecilia in Wisconsin Dells. This turned into a nearly full time job under Father Cassidy and then under the pastorate of Msgr. Felix Oehrlein. They worked together until Msgr. Oehrleinâ€™s death on November 25, 2011. Father Reuter was then asked to be the Temporary Administrator at Saint Cecelia Parish in Wisconsin Dells and he served in this capacity until February 13, 2012. Since then, he has resided at Holy Cross Diocesan Center until recently going to live at Benedictine Manor in La Crosse.
Father Reuter is survived by many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Mildred, two brothers LaVerne and Cletus, and one sister Vernetta Evans.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, September 25 at Saint Patrick Church, 401 Mansion Street, Mauston, WI 53948. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan, Bishop of La Crosse, will be the principal celebrant and Reverend Robert J. Cook will be the homilist.
Visitation will be at Saint Patrick Church, 401 Mansion Street in Mauston on Friday, September 25, 2015, from 12:30 until the time of the funeral Mass at 3:00 p.m.
Burial will be 10:30 a.m. Saturday, September 26, at Saint Andrew Cemetery in Tennyson.
The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by Blaschke & Schneider Funeral Home in La Crosse.
In lieu of flowers, Father Reuter has requested donations be made or be mailed to the Father Arnold F. Reuter Charitable Endowment Trust which will benefit missionary, charitable and education activities of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of La Crosse, C/O Diocese of La Crosse 3710 East Ave. So., La Crosse, Wis., 54601.
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