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Father Gerald Bartko, OSFS, 1938-2021

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Father Gerald Bartko, OSFS, who was very active in youth services in Lockport, died May 16, 2021. He had spent nearly 55 as a Salesian priest.

Born June 16, 1938, in Niagara Falls, Father Bartko attended Bishop Duffy High School, then joined the Oblates of St. Francis deSales after graduation. He studied at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and received a theology degree from Fribourg University in Switzerland. He was ordained in Annecy, France on Oct. 15, 1966.

After teaching a few years in Salesian High School in Detroit and then at Judge Memorial in Salt Lake City, he moved to Lockport and started teaching French, Latin, Spanish, Italian and German at DeSales Catholic High School beginning in 1969.

Following the closing of DeSales, he began teaching French, Spanish and religion at Niagara Catholic. He began teaching criminal justice, psychology and sociology at Niagara Catholic, while serving as chaplain at the Niagara County Jail. Father Bartko has also served as pastoral associate at All Saints, Lockport since 2008. 

He has been active in the Lockport Youth Bureau, the Mental Health Association of Niagara County, and the Lockport Senior Citizens board of directors. In 1972, he co-founded Big Brothers Big Sisters of Niagara County (now known as Youth Mentoring Services). His love of youth and sports led to his involvement in officiating for a variety of sports in Western New York, culminating with his being named New York State Baseball Umpire of the Year for 2020.

On Wednesday, June 9 at 3 p.m., there will be visitation at All Saints Parish, Lockport, concluding with a prayer service at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 10 at 10 a.m., there will be a funeral Mass at All Saints Parish. Internment will follow at St. Joseph Cemetery, Niagara Falls.

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