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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

The Rev. Jeffrey Nordhaus, 1946-2010: Priest became a chaplain in Navy

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The Rev. Jeffrey Nordhaus, a Roman Catholic priest in the diocese of Toledo and a former Navy chaplain, died Sunday in Toledo Hospital. He was 63.

He was treated the last two months for aortic dissections. A complication led doctors to amputate his right foot.

He was fitted with a prosthesis and "looked forward to walking out of his doctor's office with his new foot," his brother Gary said. "He was very physically fit and kept himself in good shape."

Father Nordhaus was pastor most recently of St. Louis Church, Custar, Ohio, and of Immaculate Conception Church in Deshler.

A favorite assignment after his Navy service was at Mother Of Sorrows Church, Put-In-Bay, where he prayed over boats and aircraft during the annual Blessing of the Fleet. He also was at St. Michael Church on Kelleys Island.

Other diocesan assignments were in Fremont, Bowling Green, Toledo, Grand Rapids, and Clyde.

"He came from a large family, so he knew what family life was about," said the Rev. William Kubacki, vicar for priests in the diocese. "He was able to minister to people in families in parishes, and that's the core of what parish is about, family life. He expressed a genuine interest in people and their lives."

He was born Sept. 11, 1946, to Delores and Guido Nordhaus, the 10th of 12 children. He grew up in South Toledo and went to what is now Assumption College Catholic High School in Windsor, Ont., as his brothers had. He knew from age 5 that he wanted to be a priest.

"He would play at saying Mass," brother Gary said. "Jeff was always going to be a priest."

He was a graduate of St. Meinrad College and of St. Meinrad school of theology. He was ordained May 27, 1972, in Toledo.

In 1982, he enlisted in the Navy. He served as a chaplain until 1998, when he returned to the Toledo diocese. His focus was on supporting military families, his brother Kurt said.

He took up scuba diving in the Navy and was an advanced diver. He planned to own a motor home when he retired and hit the open road.

"He told people, 'I'm going to pull up in your driveway and park it there,'•" brother Gary said. "He had a lot of friends across the country."

Surviving are his sisters, Karen Martin and Guyneth Schaller, and brothers, Gary and Kurt Nordhaus.

Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Coyle Funeral Home, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. in the mortuary. The body will be received at 4 p.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, where visitation will continue until 7 p.m. The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Friday in the church, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to the USO, Disabled American Veterans, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, or Catholic Charities.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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