Rev. Leonard A. Kistler; 1932-2014: Catholic priest led Seneca Co. churches


NEW RIEGEL, Ohio — The Rev. Leonard A. Kistler, 82, who ended more than 40 years of active ministry in his native northwest Ohio, died Monday in St. Charles Center, Carthagena, Ohio.

The Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, the Roman Catholic religious community of which he was a member, said he’d been in failing health.

Father Kistler retired in 2003 after serving as pastor the previous nine years at St. Boniface Church in New Riegel and St. Peter Church in Alvada, both in Seneca County.

“It was close to his family, and we had a lot of family get-togethers” while he was in New Riegel, his brother Charles said. “He liked this area very much.”

A new parish, All Saints, based in New Riegel, was created in 2005 from the merger of St. Boniface, St. Peter, and St. Nicholas in Frenchtown, also in Seneca County.

He was born April 5, 1932, in Ottawa, Ohio, to Agnes and Linus Kistler.

He attended Ss. Peter and Paul Grade School in Ottawa. By seventh grade, he’‍d expressed an interest in the priesthood and bicycled to nearby parishes to speak with priests.

“That solidified his vocation,” his brother said.

From his discussions with Precious Blood priests, “he liked the idea of being a missionary and spreading the word. He looked forward to it,” his brother said.

He entered the former Brunnerdale Minor Seminary in northeast Ohio near Canton in 1946 and finished his studies at St. Joseph’‍s College in Rensselaer, Ind.

He was ordained a priest on June 10, 1961. He was assistant pastor of Holy Rosary Church, Dayton, and in 1964 was sent to the Precious Blood missions at La Oroya and Yauli, Peru.

He returned to the United States in 1973.

Assignments in Dayton; Minster, Ohio; Florida, and Cleveland preceded his return to northwest Ohio.

He became a good public speaker, but he left joke telling to others.

“He was too studious and pious to do that,” his brother said. “But he enjoyed a good laugh. He took life serious and took his priesthood serious.”

Surviving are his brothers, Francis, Harold, and L. Charles, and sisters, Rosalia Osterhage and Mary Ann Langhals.

Visitation is from 1-5 and 7-9 p.m. today in St. Charles Center, in Mercer County’s Carthagena, with a prayer service at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday in St. Charles Center.

Tributes are suggested to the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Cincinnati Province.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.