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3155 Harrison Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45211
Phone: (513) 661-3022
Fax: (513) 661-0733
Rev. Gary Witsken

Rev. Gary J. Witsken

October 3, 1942 - February 18, 2019
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Witsken, Rev. Gerard J. Loving son of the late Lawrence H., Sr. and Antoinette (Duwel) Witsken. Dear brother of the late Lawrence H., Jr. (Mary Ann) Witsken and Richard A. (Jeannette) Witsken. Survived by numerous nieces and nephews. Former Pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Church (Riverside), St. Peter Church (New Richmond), Holy Cross-Immaculata Church (Mt. Adams), retired Air Force Chaplain and teacher at Elder High School. Passed away on Monday, February 18, 2019 at 76 years of age. Reception of the body at St. Teresa of Avila Church, 1175 Overlook Ave., on Thursday at 5:00 PM followed by Visitation until 7:00 PM. Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday at 10:00 AM. Burial with military honors to follow at St. Joseph Old Cemetery. Memorials may be made to Elder High School, 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio 45205.

Father Gary was born on October 3, 1942 in Cincinnati’s Western Hills, the third son of Lawrence Witsken and Antoinette Duwel. His father’s father emigrated from Germany in 1894, one of five siblings who left a dairy farm in Germany to come to Cincinnati. Soon after marrying, his grandfather started his own dairy farm in Price Hill and it eventually grew from a farm into a business with 13 delivery routes. After Antoinette’s father died, she moved with her mother and sister to a new home across from Witsken’s Dairy and met his father who lived next to the dairy. In the early 50’s the dairy was sold and some 250 homes were built on the property. Father Gary was the youngest of three boys.

He attended St. Teresa School, Elder High School and St. Gregory and Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. He almost gave a try at becoming a veterinarian and was accepted into Xavier University, when the Holy Spirit stepped into his life with other ideas. Ordained on May 24, 1969, he was assigned to Our Lady of Angels Parish in Sidney, Ohio but soon returned to Cincinnati and spent 16 years teaching Spanish and Religion at Elder High School while living at St. Antoninus Parish (for two separate assignments), Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Margaret Mary, & St. Teresa before becoming pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Church and later St. Peter’s in New Richmond. In 2005, he was appointed pastor of Immaculata/Holy Trinity and Old St. Mary’s. He retired in 2008 and went on to help celebrate daily and Sunday masses at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish until 2013. At this point, he moved to Bayley Place, receiving excellent care in his final years.

In his spare time, Father Gary was an avid traveler/hiker and enjoyed spending time with Poncho, his pet Macaw. He studied Spanish for short periods of time in Madrid and Malaga, Spain and Cochabamba, Bolivia at the Maryknoll Language School. He was chaplain of the baseball team and ski club at Elder. He was also a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves for 20 years stationed at Wright Patterson Air Base, the last 12 years with the 906th Fighter Squadron.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday February 21, 2019 | 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    Thursday February 21, 2019 5:00pm - 7:00pm
    St. Teresa of Avila Church
    1175 Overlook Ave.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45238
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Friday February 22, 2019 | 10:00am
    Friday February 22, 2019 10:00am
    St. Teresa of Avila Church
    1175 Overlook Ave.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45238
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Archbishop Dennis Schnurr
  • Interment

    St. Joseph Old Cemetery
    West Eighth & Seton Avenue
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45205
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

Ray and Judy Feldman

Posted at 01:51pm
Judy and I extend our deep sympathy to the Witsken family on the death of Gary.

I remember our milk being delivered to our house from Gary's grandfather's dairy farm when I was very young. The delivery truck was horse-drawn. One Sunday, while I was visiting my mother at Western Hills Retirement Village, Mom's roommate also had a visitor. He was the very same Witsken Dairy delivery man who had delivered the milk to our house four decades earlier. It's a small world.

Gary was three years ahead of me and one year behind my sister Kathy at St. Teresa Grade School. He and I also crossed paths at St. Gregory Seminary in 1960.

Eternal rest grant unto Fr. Gary, O Lord,
and may he shine in the Perpetual Light of Jesus,
Our Savior and Lord.
May he rest in peace. Amen.


Posted at 12:01pm
I am sorry for your loss. Continue to let your fond memories warm your hearts. May “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our trials” sustain you during this difficult time. 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Lori Witsken Bennett

Posted at 04:58pm
Soft Blessings & Condolences to the entire family! Father Gary was a huge part of my Mom's life for decades. I remember him as he looks in the picture here. In the 70's my siblings & I would tag him to come play 'Tag' with us while he was studiously talking with the 'big people.' Occasionally he'd give chase with that shining smile of his ~ as he always seemed to have a heart of youthful Gold. Doubtless my Mom, Shirlee Witsken & Sis, Joyce are hugging him in heaven this day. Gently, Lori Witsken Bennett

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