Obituaries

Gallegos150pxReverend Joseph L. Gallegos: 1939 - 2017

Reverend Joseph L. (Larry) Gallegos was born on April 9, 1939 in Anton Chico, New Mexico to Julian and Eloisa Gallegos. Fr. Gallegos passed away Friday, June 9, 2017.

Father Gallegos's family moved to Denver, Colorado, when he was about eight years old. He was educated earlier in his life at Sacred Heart Catholic School and Regis High School. He entered the Theatine Order in September 1959 and made his first profession of vows on September 15, 1965.

Fr. Gallegos completed his philosophy studies at Regis University, Denver and his theology studies at St. Thomas in Denver in 1969. He was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception May 31, 1969.Father Gallegos taught at St. Andrew Seminary High School, then served as rector, St. Andrew Seminary, Denver, for 14years, and as provincial superior, North American Theatine Province for six years. He was also master of novices for this province for 15 years.

His first assignment in the Diocese of Pueblo was as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Durango, beginning April 16, 1986. On February 21, 1988, he was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. In May of 2006, Fr. Gallegos was assigned as pastor of St. Margaret Mary in Cortez, it's mission St. Jude in Dove Creek, St. Rita Parish in Mancos and its missions Our Lady of Victory in Dolores, and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Rico, where he remained until 2010 when he moved to Denver to serve as provincial of the Theatine Order at the Denver Seminary. On July 1, 2011, Father Gallegos returned to Durango to serve as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish and remained until just before his death. The office of the dead and vigil were held at Sacred Heart Parish in Durango on June 14 followed by a funeral Mass on June 16 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Denver. Fr. Gallegos was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Wertz150pxDeacon John Wertz: 1936-2017

Deacon John Wertz, 81, died peacefully at home surrounded by his family on June 25, 2017. He was born March 29, 1936, in Trinidad, Colo. to David and Catherine Wertz. John attended Holy Trinity grade and high school. He joined the US Navy in 1954, as a musician playing the trumpet and french horn. He was stationed in Washington, D.C. and then in Guam. In Guam, he was able to use his love of swimming by lifeguarding at the beach and learned to scuba dive. After discharge, he moved to Greeley, Colo. to start college and his family. He started working at McDonald's and became part owner of the two McDonald's in Greeley. He was proud of the fact that he was able to help establish the first Ronald McDonald House in Denver and later in Albuquerque after moving to New Mexico. John also started his love of flying, obtaining his pilot's license and then becoming a flight instructor. He continued his love of flying in New Mexico by becoming a hot air balloon pilot. After moving to New Mexico, John left McDonald's and had various jobs before becoming an educational assistant for special needs children. When asked how he could care for the special needs children he said he thought of them as being Christ and it became easy. John received his calling to serve the Lord more fully while in Albuquerque and started his deaconate training. He was ordained for the archdiocese of Santa Fe on June 24, 1993. John was bi-ritual and also served at the Byzantine Catholic Church. He moved to Pueblo in January 2001 and continued to serve in the diocese of Pueblo. John joined Sangre de Cristo Hospice in 2003 and served as chaplain for nine years before retiring after the death of two sons-in-law. He continued to serve as a deacon at the Shrine of St. Therese until he became ill.

John leaves to cherish his memories to his wife of 39 years, Rose; father-in-law, Philip Reynolds, III; daughters, Laura Kline, Barbara (Doug) Ross, Kathy Boechler and Christy (Mike) Dale; brother, Paul (Barbara ) Wertz; and brothers-in-law, Philip (Lillian) Reynolds, IV, James (Beth) Reynolds, Shane (Elisa) Reynolds and Greg (Melissa) Reynolds. He has nine grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held for Deacon Wertz on June 30 at the Shrine of St. Therese. He was interred at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo.


SrJoan150pxSr. Joan Hentges, O.S.B.: 1931 - 2017

Sister Joan Hentges, O.S.B., was born Nov. 28, 1931, in Mitchell, S.D., to the late Theodore F. and Gertrude Mary, nee George, Hentges. She passed away May 14, 2017 at St. Scholastica Monastery in Chicago. She was preceded in death by her sister, Jean (the late Philip) Greenwood; her infant brother, Dale Hentges; and a niece and a nephew. Sister Joan professed vows as a Benedictine Sister on June 27, 1950. She was an educator and teacher in Chicago and Colorado and was a pastoral minister and director of religious education in Colorado.

Sister Joan earned a bachelor of philosophy degree at DePaul University in Chicago and the master of ministry at Seattle University, in addition to studying at the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Sister Joan ministered in Capulin and La Jara doing pastoral work and serving as director of religious education. In 1977 she became director of religious education and was a pastoral assistant at Christ the King Parish in Pueblo. For the following 38 years, she gave of herself to the people there in multiple ways, never sparing herself in serving where she found need. After about 20 years directing the religious education program, she focused on other ministries: engaging with the sick and elderly, arranging senior citizen outings to Cripple Creek, encouraging and modeling social action, and becoming known as the “white tornado” for her energy and zeal.

As a Benedictine Sister of Chicago, she served generously in community affairs. She served on the St. Scholastica Academy (Cañon City) Board of Directors, ongoing formation and finance Committees, Monastic Council, and as associate director of the Oblates of St. Scholastica Monastery.

Sister Joan loved nature, reading, adventure, and travel. She made it a goal to travel to all our country’s National Parks and toured Europe with her sister, Jean.

A memorial Mass for Sister Joan was held on Friday, June 23, at Christ the King Parish in Pueblo. She was interred at Lakeside Cemetery in Canon City.

Oresky150pxDeacon Richard Oreskey: 1952 - 2017

Richard George Oreskey, 64, passed away unexpectedly June 9, 2017. Rick was born to George and Marie Oreskey on October 24, 1952, in Pueblo. He worked at the Pueblo County Sheriff's Department, Pueblo Community College and was a deacon with the Diocese of Pueblo.

Rick enjoyed gardening, camping, fly fishing, spending time with his friends and family and his church family. Recipient of the Medal of Valor, member of Knights of Columbus, Crossroads, Foot Printers and was a hospital chaplain.

Deacon Oreskey is survived by wife, Mickie Oreskey; daughters, Melissa (Brad) Ritter and Michelle (Rickey) Jones; mother, Marie Oreskey; siblings, Susan (Pete) Juba, Janet (Carmen) Juliano and Michael (Sandy) Oreskey; five grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his father, George F. Oreskey, Jr; grandparents, George F. and Anna Oreskey and John and Susan Smalley.

A Mass of Christian Burial was held for Deacon Oreskey on June 16 at the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. He was interred at Roselawn Cemetery in Pueblo.