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Published: Saturday, 11/12/2005

Jesuit priest was pastor at St. Mary, Gesu Church

The Rev. Robert A. Pollauf, 90, a Jesuit priest who was a former pastor of St. Mary Church and a former associate pastor of Gesu Church, died Thursday in the Colombiere Center, Clarkston, Mich., after an upper respiratory infection.

His last assignment was at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in downtown Detroit.

Father Pollauf was an associate pastor of Gesu in the 1980s, during which he marked his 50th anniversary in the Society of Jesus.

He was installed as the 23rd pastor of St. Mary in August, 1976, about 43 years after he'd last lived in his hometown of Toledo.

He helped oversee the 125th anniversary celebration in 1979 of St. Mary, the second parish organized in the city. It served the families of German immigrants at its founding, but was multiethnic and multiracial by the 1970s. He spoke Spanish and celebrated funeral Mass in the language, when asked, for Hispanic parishioners.

He helped coordinate the Feed Your Neighbor Program when St. Mary was a referral center for the Toledo Area Council of Churches-sponsored program. He served on the citizens advisory committee of the Bancroft-Kent Community Center.

Father Pollauf grew up on Spring Grove Avenue in East Toledo and was a member of Sacred Heart Church. He was a 1933 graduate of St. John's High School, then in North Toledo, and became a member of the Jesuits in Milford, Ohio.

"Bob was a brilliant man. He had a photographic memory," said Sister Mary Claver, his sister. "He had a real thirst for knowledge."

Philosophical courses at West Baden College in Indiana followed novitiate and juniorate studies. He was ordained in 1946 after three years of teaching at Loyola Academy, Chicago, and theological studies at West Baden College. Father Pollauf also studied at Northwestern University.

He taught for a decade at Loyola Academy in Chicago and Wilmette, Ill. He joined the Detroit Province of the Jesuits in 1960 and taught at Colombiere College in Clarkston and at University of Detroit Jesuit High School.

From 1963 through the mid-1970s, he led retreats in Michigan and Ohio. He spent a year's sabbatical studying Scripture, theology, and liturgy and studied social justice issues during a course in Mexico.

Though not based in Toledo for many years, he visited family in the city frequently.

"We were always together at Christmas and the big holidays," his brother George said.

Surviving are his brothers, William, James, George, and Edward Pollauf, and sisters, Sister Mary Claver and Margaret Ann Weis.

Funeral services will be at 10:45 a.m. Monday in the Colombiere Center, Clarkston, Mich., where the body will lie in state after 3 p.m. tomorrow, with prayers in the center at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Arrangements are by the A.J. Desmond & Sons Funeral Home, Troy, Mich.

It is suggested that tributes be to the Colombiere Center.

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