William Leininger
1931 - 2021
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William Leininger
Jan. 13, 1931 - Jan. 2, 2021
Resident of Los Gatos
Reverend William Carl Leininger, Catholic Priest, died January 2nd at age 89. William Leininger was ordained on June 16th, 1956. He was deeply involved in social justice programs and a member of a family with deep roots in San Jose.
Leininger was born at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose on January 13, 1931, the son of Carl Leininger, who became San Jose's City Engineer and Mary Leininger, a homemaker. The first of seven children, he came from a family devoted to public service and and social justice.
As a priest of more than 64 years, Leininger's actions embodied the essence of Christianity in that he worked tirelessly for those in need and would help anyone regardless of their faith or background. He truly loved what he did and led a life devoted to others. His true calling was to the service of the underserved. He served on a number of commissions and was active with labor unions. Whether attending a meeting or protesting, he was fully committed to fair treatment for all.
Leininger served the Catholic Church faithfully conducting Zoom Masses on Sundays until he could no longer physically participate. Locally he was a parish priest at St. John Vianney's, St. Martins and was Pastor at transfiguration Church.
Leininger is survived by his sister Jane, and brothers Richard and Robert. He was preceded in death by brother James, sisters Rita and Anne. Memorial services are postponed due to COVID.


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Published in San Jose Mercury News/San Mateo County Times on Jan. 13, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by San Jose Mercury News
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6 entries
January 17, 2021
Fr. Bill became a good friend of mine. We worked together in the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice. We worked on supporting low wage workers who were seeking to have a voice at the hotels and mercados in this area. Fr. Bill joined a group of us studying nonviolence. There is no way I can overstate what a tremendous influence he was in my life. He was a man and a priest who brought a smile to every face.
Stanley Taylor
Friend
January 15, 2021
Fr. Leininger was a family freind while I attended St Martin’s 57 years ago!! He was at our dinner table on many occasions after my parents divorce and was a source of strength, understanding, and compassion to a young newly single mom with three young children. I loved him. Rest In Peace Father❣
Peggy Wilson
Friend
January 13, 2021
His infectious laugh, Christmases at his cabin, and his adventurous spirit will remain in my memories of him. He has made his mark in the world, and I'm proud to have known him. Rest in peace, Bill. Love you!
Mary Catherine Kuhn
Friend
January 13, 2021
Bill was a genuinely warm and inviting person. A better priest than pastor (I'm sure he would agree), always a friend to the working class and those outside the old school idea of "Catholic". I recall that he liked to use loaves of sour dough for communion, until some visitor complained to the bishop. Also will never forget that he began the Lord's Prayer with "Our Mother, Our Father..." Hope that he can fly-fish and snow ski in heaven!
Matt Verrinder
Friend
January 13, 2021
It was an honor to travel in the welcoming circle that was Bill Leininger. He was my friend, priest and teacher for more than 60 years. RIP
Patricia O'Brien
Friend
January 13, 2021
I remember stories about diving for abalone, eating road kill (still not sure if he was joking), skiing, tennis, and the very adventurous and devoted life he lived. His unselfishness, laugh-inducing stories and jokes, and Christmas time at "Bill's Cabin," will forever be cemented in my memories. Rest in peace, Bill! Your mark on the world has been huge, and I am so grateful to have been a part! Love you!!
Mary Catherine Kuhn
Friend
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