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Published: Tuesday, 7/18/2006

Priest taught religion, served in 7 parishes

FREMONT - The Rev. John J. Lehmkuhl, 88, a retired priest with Catholic Diocese of Toledo, died yesterday in the Rosary Care Center, Sylvania, of complications from a broken hip.

Father Lehmkuhl was a past state chaplain of the Knights of Columbus. During his 39-year career, Father Lehmkuhl, who was ordained in 1945, also was assistant pastor or pastor at seven of the diocese's parishes.

Father Lehmkuhl initially was assistant pastor for about 10 years at St. John the Evangelist Church, Delphos, Ohio, and then was transferred to Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Sandusky.

While in Sandusky, Father Lehmkuhl taught religion at what is now St. Mary Central Catholic High School, the Rev. Raymond Etzel, the school's principal at the time, said.

With his students, Father Lehmkuhl "was low-key but very friendly," he recalled.

Father Lehmkuhl left Sandusky in 1962 when he was appointed pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Delaware Bend, Ohio, and its mission parish, Immaculate Conception in Marysdale, Ohio. He later became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Genoa in 1967, and St. Peter Parish in Huron, Ohio in 1971. In 1974, he became pastor of St. Paul Parish in Norwalk, Ohio as well as the administrator of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wakeman, Ohio until 1977, when he became pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Clyde, Ohio.

Father Lehmkuhl settled in Fremont after retiring in 1984, and later moved to the Rutherford House assisted-living facility in the mid-1990s.

Father Lehmkuhl was born in Lima, Ohio. An older brother also became a priest, the Rev. Leo A. Lehmkuhl. His brother died in 1990 after serving parishes throughout the diocese.

Father Lehmkuhl graduated from St. John High School in Lima in 1936 and, after a brief stint working in a local department store, went on to attend St. Meinrad Seminary in Saint Meinrad, Ind., from which he received a bachelor's degree in 1942. He entered Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Cincinnati and was ordained at Rosary Cathedral in Toledo.

Surviving is his sister, Mary King.

Visitation will be after 5 p.m. today in Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Fremont, and from 9 until 10:45 a.m. tomorrow. Services will begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the church. The Wonderly-Horvath Funeral Home and Crematory, Fremont, is handling arrangements. It is suggested that tributes be to the Priest's Retirement Fund of the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

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