Rev. Bede Fitzpatrick OFM

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  • "REQUIEM ÆTERNAM DONA EI DOMINE! REQUIESCAT IN PACE,..."
    - George & Kazuko Young
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    - Hugh and Barbara Lafferty
  • "What a man! What a family!"
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RINGWOOD, N.J. - Rev. Bede Fitzpatrick, OFM, of Ringwood, a native of Ellicottville, N.Y., died Wednesday (Sept. 12, 2018) at The Holy Name Friary in Ringwood.

Born Francis Bernard Fitzpatrick, on July 13, 1922, in Ellicottville, Fr. Bede was one of seven children born to William F. and Loretto Kelly Fitzpatrick.

He was a 1938 graduate of Ellicottville High School and a 1943 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he played football as a running back on the freshman team.

As World War II was starting to escalate, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was soon commissioned as a lieutenant assigned to the amphibious force in Japan. His responsibilities included coordinating landing crafts at several battle sites, including Iwo Jima and the war's largest battle on the sea, the battle of Leyte. He was honorably discharged in 1946, when he returned to Ellicottville to work for his father at Fitzpatrick & Weller.

Soon after his return, Fr. Bede was drawn to the Franciscan priesthood and in 1950 was received into the order. He professed his final vows in 1954 and was ordained in 1955. His interest was in missionary work and he subsequently began a 55-year career in Japan, first as a student learning the language and culture; then in 1961 beginning an assignment as Superior of St. Joseph's Friary at Roppongi; and later as the first pastor at the newly opened Franciscan Chapel Center. In 1971 he facilitated the introduction of Marriage Encounter in Japan.

His official retirement and return to the United States was in 2013, to St. Anthony Friary in Butler. Of his long career, he is quoted upon retirement as saying " … I am grateful to God, to the Order and to the Japanese people. I feel just fulfilled, done my job, so at 91, it's time to retire."

He is survived by his sister, Kathleen Widger of Great Valley, N.Y.; a brother, Dana Fitzpatrick of Ellicottville; and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by four brothers, William Fitzpatrick, Jess Fitzpatrick, Joseph Fitzpatrick and an infant twin brother to Dana, Daniel Fitzpatrick.

A funeral mass was celebrated Sept. 15 at St. Anthony Church, Butler.

A memorial mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday (Sept. 26, 2018) at the Friary Chapel on the St. Bonaventure campus, preceded by a visitation from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at the chapel. Burial will follow in the Friar's plot at St. Bonaventure Cemetery.

Memorials may be made to Franciscan Friars Holy Name Province, 144 W. 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Casey, Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home, Olean. Online condolences may be expressed at oleanfuneralhome.com.
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Casey Halwig & Hartle Funeral Home
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Olean, NY 14760
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Published in The Olean Times Herald from Sept. 15 to Sept. 22, 2018
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