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Published: Thursday, 9/27/2012

The Rev. Donald R. Mueller, 1935-2012 Priest served in diocese 51 years


GIBSONBURG, Ohio — The Rev . Donald R . Mueller, a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo for 51 years who had assignments throughout northwest Ohio, died Tuesday in St. Rita's Medical Center, Lima, Ohio. He was 77.

The cause of death was not reported, his sister Angela Hohlbein said. He had severe arthritis in recent years and underwent shoulder surgery on Friday.

In retirement, he lived at St. Michael Parish in Gibsonburg, Ohio, said Msgr. William Kubacki, diocesan vicar for priests.

"He was always willing to help out at parishes, especially in the Fremont and Clyde area," Monsignor Kubacki said. "He was a bubbly person who liked to talk to people."

Father Mueller, a former assistant in the diocesan mission office, also preached around the diocese on behalf of church missions. He'd been a chaplain at the former Mercy Hospital in Toledo. He later was a chaplain at St. Francis Health Care Center in Green Springs, Ohio, and at St. Bernardine Home in Fremont.

He was ordained in May, 1961, and through the 1970s was an associate at St. Peter parish in Huron, Ohio, St. Jude in Toledo, Immaculate Conception in Ottoville, Ohio, St. Wendelin in Fostoria, and St. John the Baptist in Toledo.

He later was a pastor at St. Stephen parish near Sherwood, Ohio, and Immaculate Conception at Marysdale parish near Defiance, at St. Ann, Toledo, Sacred Heart at Bethlehem near Shelby, Ohio, and St. Joseph, Plymouth, Ohio.

"He liked serving the people," his sister said. "He was very good with homilies."

He was born Sept. 5, 1935, to Evelyn and Aloysius Mueller and grew up on a farm near Landeck, Ohio.

"When he was 5 or 6 he had a ruptured appendix and was lucky to be with us," his sister said. When he got well, he declared that he was going to be a priest, his sister said, "and he just stuck with that."

His education was at Pontifical College Josephinum, Worthington, Ohio.

Surviving are his sisters, Angela Hohlbein and Sister Diane Mueller, and brother, Joseph Mueller.

Visitation is to be from noon to3:30 p.m. Saturday in St. Michael Church, Gibsonburg, with a recitation of the Rosary at 3:30 p.m., and from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Immaculate Conception Church, Ottoville, Ohio, with vespers at 4 p.m.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Monday in Immaculate Conception Church. Arrangements are by the Herman-Kinn-Veh Funeral Home, Gibsonburg, or the Love Heitmeyer Funeral Home in Putnam County's Jackson Township.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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