Timon grad who served as Franciscan priest, dies in Florida
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Father John Ullrich, OFM, 73, a member of Holy Name Province and a professed Franciscan friar for 48 years – a priest for 45 of them – died on Aug. 13, 2021, at St. Anthony’s Hospital. He spent his religious life in a variety of roles, mainly pastoral work and positions related to Franciscan formation and education.
Father Ullrich was born on April 9, 1948, in Buffalo, to Robert and Colette (Guenther) Ullrich. After attending Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School in Buffalo – which was founded and staffed by Franciscan friars – he graduated in 1970 from Siena College near Albany, where he studied philosophy and earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting. In 1971, he earned a master’s degree in counseling and development from the State University of New York at Albany.
He was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 22, 1971, at Holy Name Province’s novitiate in Brookline, Massachusetts, where a year later, he professed his first vows. Father Ullrich studied theology at Washington Theological Union, and on Aug. 16, 1975, he made his solemn profession in New York City. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 8, 1976, in Silver Spring, Maryland, by Bishop Dominic Coscia, OFM.
Father Ullrich spent his Franciscan life in vocation and formation work, as well as leadership roles at parishes, with ministry assignments throughout the East Coast and Midwest.
His first assignment after ordination was in Denver, where he served for four years as director of the St. Francis Interfaith Center. In 1980, he returned to the East Coast to work in the Holy Name Province Vocation Office. From 1981 until 1984, he served in formation roles as director of simply professed and as a member of the novitiate team. Father Ullrich was assigned in 1984 to St. Francis Retreat Center in Rye Beach, New Hampshire, where he led the retreat team for six years. He also completed additional studies in pastoral supervision at Andover-Newton Theological School in Massachusetts.
In 1991, Father Ullrich moved to St. Anthony-St. Patrick Parish in Hartford, Connecticut, where he served as parochial vicar for six years. In 1997, he was assigned to St. Anthony Shrine in Boston, where he was the guardian from 1999 until 2002. He was assigned in 2003 to St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, where he ministered until 2011. Two of those years he served as the pastor as well as friary guardian.
In 2011, Father Ullrich returned to formation work, assigned until 2016 to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, where he also served as treasurer of the friary community, assisted at St. Camillus Parish and other local churches, and ministered at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. From 2016 until 2020, he was stationed at St. Joseph Friary in Chicago. He retired in June 2020 to St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg.
A wake and funeral Mass were held at the chapel of St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg. Burial will be at Calvary Catholic Cemetery in Clearwater, Florida.