Fr. Norman F. Rotert, 83, retired priest of the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, died December 17, 2014, at Kansas City Hospice in the company of his immediate family and close friends. A Vigil service will be Sunday, Dec. 21, at Visitation Church beginning with a prayer service at 6 p.m. followed by a visitation until 8 p.m. The Mass of Resurrection will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, Dec. 22, at the church. Father Rotert was born June 22, 1931, in Montrose, Mo., eldest son of Clem (Butch) Rotert and Freda M. (Cook) Rotert. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother, John E. Rotert and John's wife, Bettie. Survivors include his brother, Philip L. Rotert (Jeanne), Leawood, Kan., sister, Theresa R. Kempf (Gordon), Mission, Kan., nieces and nephews, Elizabeth Recker (Robert), Suzanna Smith, Omaha, Neb., George Rotert (Anne), Urich, Mo., Paul Rotert, Appleton, Mo., William Rotert (Robin), Clovis, Calif., Tom Rotert (Bedonna), Laguna Beach, Calif., Timothy Kempf (Sarah Hilliker), San Francisco, Calif., Jennifer Rotert, Jonathan Kempf, Mission, Sarah Coleman (Dwight), Leawood, and John Rotert, Kansas City, Mo., and 24 grand nieces and nephews. Ordained to the priesthood in 1957, Fr. Rotert served in eight parishes including pastorates at St. Therese Little Flower, St. Peters, St. Charles and Visitation. From 1984 until 1994 he was Vicar General of the diocese. A source of strength and vision, a man of integrity, wisdom and compassion, he championed the poor and practiced justice. Father Rotert's response to the call of priesthood took him far beyond the Catholic community to work that improved the lot of all humankind in pursuit of the common good. With two priest friends he initiated a Kansas City delegation of religious leaders to march for civil rights in Selma, Ala. The commitment to justice remained throughout his life as his call to serve the People of God led him to work on the 49/63 Project, founding membership in the Blue Hills Corporation, a community development corporation, and procurement of a real estate broker's license to make a difference for good in the city. He was a founding member of the Kansas City Organizing Project (KCOP), a church-based ministry which thrives today as Communities Creating Opportunity (CCO). Father Rotert served on numerous national and local boards including the Pacific Institute for Community Organizing (PICO) and the Center for Practical Bioethics and Rehab Loan Corporation. He served on a citizen's advisory committee on housing and neighborhood preservation and helped raise millions of dollars for organizations such as the Community of the Good Shepherd and an endowed chair at the Center for Practical Bioethics. Father Rotert's final fund-raising effort culminated in the renovation of Visitation Church and School buildings ensuring that the parish community would endure for generations to come, and that the sacramental life of Visitation Church would continue to be the source and summit of its existence. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Bishop Sullivan Center or Visitation Catholic Church. M
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Published by Kansas City Star from Dec. 19 to Dec. 21, 2014.