Klimek, Monsignor Edmund John
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Monsignor Edmund John Klimek, 85, died at Sacred Heart Hospital on August 28, 2013.
Monsignor Klimek was born in Arcadia, Wisconsin, on October 31, 1927, to Frank and Susan Klimek. He was the second youngest of six children, his siblings being Pelchie, Rose, Irene, Ernest, and Joseph. He attended St. Aloysius Grade School, Arcadia High School for his freshman year, and then St. Francis Minor Seminary in Milwaukee beginning his sophomore year. He then went on to complete his Theology studies at St. Francis Major Seminary.
Monsignor Klimek was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 1953, by Bishop John Treacy. His first assignment was at St. Lawrence Parish in Wisconsin Rapids and Holy Rosary Parish at Sigel. He also taught religion and sociology at Assumption High School and was the guidance counselor and athletic director. He was named Pastor at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Independence in 1961. He oversaw the construction of a new school for the parish, which was dedicated in October of 1967.
On June 18, 1968, he began his appointment as Administrator at St. Bridget Parish in Springfield, with residence and chaplain responsibilities at Sacred Heart Hospital. In 1972, Monsignor Klimek established the Pastoral Care Department at Sacred Heart Hospital. As an extension of his ministry to the sick and suffering, he also helped to establish the Saint Francis Food Pantry, Triniteam, and The Healing Place: A Center for Life's Journeys.
On January 10, 2012, Monsignor Klimek requested and was granted the status of "Senior Priest" by Bishop William Callahan of the Diocese of La Crosse. He retained his residence at Sacred Heart Hospital and continued his priestly ministry on a more limited basis until he passed away. He also continued to celebrate daily Mass in the Hospital Chapel.
Monsignor Klimek had many roles with the Diocese of La Crosse during his 60 years of priestly ministry, serving on the Diocese's College of Consultors, Clergy Personnel Council, Presbyteral Council and was Dean of the Eau Claire Deanery. He was also the Diocesan Coordinator of Health Affairs from 1971 until 2011. Monsignor Klimek served on the Executive Committee of the national organization of the Conference of Diocesan Health Affair Coordinators and served as President of the Wisconsin Catholic Chaplains Association, as well as the Eau Claire Clergy Association.
Monsignor Klimek received many awards and recognitions during his lifetime. In 1982, he was named Eau Claire County Mental Health Association's "Man of the Year." In 1992, he received the "Award of Merit" from the Wisconsin Hospital Association. In January of 1999, Monsignor Klimek was honored at the annual conference of the Diocesan Coordinators of Health Affairs with the "Samuel Cardinal Stritch Award." This award salutes an individual for his or her outstanding contribution and commitment to the Catholic health care ministry in promoting the highest quality care and the dignity of the person through professional and personal services. In 2002, Monsignor received the United Way "Senn Award" which is granted to someone who has served in the non-profit sector of the Chippewa Valley and adds substantially to the quality of life in the region. In 2004, he was inducted into the Assumption High School Athletic Hall of Fame, and in 2005, Monsignor Klimek received the Red Cross "Real Heroes" Award.
In September of 2006, Monsignor Klimek was the recipient of the "Annecy Award" from the Alumni Association of his alma mater, Saint Francis Seminary in Milwaukee. This distinguished award "honors a seminary graduate who has been engaged in any form of pastoral work in an exemplary way, supports all types of ministry in the Church and is actively involved in the life of the Church." In May of 2012, Monsignor Klimek was honored with Catholic Charities "In My Name Award" which is given each year to recognize a person or institution within the Diocese of La Crosse for their charitable works.
On June 3, 2013, Monsignor Klimek was honored nationally as he received the Catholic Health Association's "Lifetime Achievement Award." This award is conferred each year upon "an acknowledged leader of the health ministry who has inspired and mentored numerous others. The individual's leadership extends past the Catholic health ministry to influence and impact the local community and beyond." Fittingly, Monsignor Klimek was the first hospital chaplain to receive this award.
On November 10, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, bestowed upon then-Father Klimek the Papal Honor of "Chaplain to His Holiness," bearing with it the title of "Monsignor," in honor of his dedicated service to the Church.
In 2008, the Monsignor Klimek Healing Presence Endowment Fund was established at Sacred Heart Hospital in honor of his profound ministry. This Endowment Fund ensures that Monsignor Klimek's dedicated and compassionate healing presence lives on in perpetuity.
Monsignor Klimek exemplified a life of Christian service, which is one reason why the highest recognition a colleague of Sacred Heart Hospital can receive is the "Father Klimek Healing Presence Award." This award was established in 2000 to recognize Monsignor's profound contribution to the mission of Sacred Heart Hospital.
Known throughout the Chippewa Valley and beyond as a deeply humble and spiritual man, Monsignor Klimek's greatest joy was faithfully ministering to the sick, suffering, and dying. In his quiet and unassuming way, he brought the compassionate love of Christ to all those he encountered. He was a good and holy man, and a dedicated servant of God.
Monsignor Klimek is survived by his brother, Joseph (Dorothy) Klimek, and sister, Rose (Klimek) Pierzina, and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Susan Klimek, his brother, Ernest Klimek, and his sisters, Pelchie (Klimek) Berens and Irene (Klimek) Hoffman.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on September 5, 2013, at Saint James the Greater Parish in Eau Claire. Bishop William P. Callahan will be the main celebrant and Father George Szews the homilist. A private burial in Calvary Catholic Cemetery will follow. A reception open to the public will be held at Florian Gardens from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Visitation will be held at the Father Christopher Chapel at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire on September 4, 2013, from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead at 7:00 p.m.
In lieu flowers, donations can be sent to the Monsignor Klimek Healing Presence Endowment Fund at Sacred Heart Hospital.
Lenmark Gomsrud Linn Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. To express condolences online, please visit obituaries at www.lenmarkfh.com
Lenmark-Gomsrud-Linn Funeral & Crematory Services
814 1St Ave
Eau Claire, WI 54703
Published in the Marshfield News Herald on Sept. 1, 2013