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Archdiocesan Priest, Rev. Thomas J. Purtell, Dies

Fr. Purtell was Pastor Emeritus of St. John Fisher Parish in Chicago

Chicago, IL (August 29, 2018) – Rev. Thomas J. Purtell, retired pastor of St. John Fisher Parish in Chicago, passed away on Friday, August 24, 2018. He was 83 years old.

Born on February 11, 1935, in Chicago, Fr. Purtell attended Our Lady of Victory School and Quigley Preparatory Seminary, both in Chicago. He graduated with a master’s degree from the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Ill., in 1960.

Fr. Purtell was ordained to the priesthood on May 1, 1961, by Albert Cardinal Meyer, archbishop of Chicago, and celebrated his first solemn Mass at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Chicago on May 4 of the same year.

After ordination to priesthood, Fr. Purtell served the archdiocese as assistant pastor at the following parishes: St. Joseph Parish in Homewood, Ill., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish on Keeler Street in Chicago, and St. Benedict Parish in Blue Island, Ill. Afterward, he was assigned to St. John Fisher Parish where he served as pastor from 1984 through 2003, when he retired.

Rev. Daniel Brady, pastor emeritus of St. Cecilia Parish in Mount Prospect, Ill., had known Fr. Purtell for almost 70 years and remembers his classmate as “a very good friend, a marvelous storyteller and wonderful priest.”

Rev. Thomas Dore, pastor emeritus of St. Giles Parish in Oak Park, Ill., described Fr. Purtell as a very kind priest who was compassionate to his people.

“He was such an important factor in Beverly on the South Side,” said Rev. William Kenneally, pastor of St. Gertrude Parish on Glenwood Avenue in Chicago. Fr. Kenneally and Fr. Purtell had been friends since seminary. “He knew all the names at his parish and everybody loved him,” Fr. Kenneally said. “He was a wonderful example of what a priest is supposed to be.”

Visitation hours will be on Thursday, August 30 from 3 to 9 p.m., and Friday, August 31 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. A prayer service will be held Thursday, August 30 at 7 p.m. and the funeral Mass will take place on Friday, August 31 at 11 a.m. Cardinal Blase J. Cupich will be the main celebrant of the funeral Mass and Fr. Brady will be the homilist.

All funeral services will be held at St. John Fisher Parish, 10234 S. Washtenaw Avenue in Chicago.

Interment will take place at All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Ill.