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Immaculate Conception bids farewell to Stites PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, June 23, 2013 11:51 PM

BY STACY TAFF

Staff Writer

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OTTOVILLE — The parishioners of Ottoville Immaculate Conception Church held a memorable farewell Sunday afternoon for the Rev. John Stites, who has been with the parish for eight years.

 

After a series of speakers gave tribute to Stites, he was led outside for a surprise; a brand-new Chevrolet Impala, purchased with funds raised by members of the parish as well as Defiance and Toledo.

 

Stites was visibly surprised and emotional when he stepped outside where the car was waiting, wrapped in a red bow.

“Thank you so much; this is great,” he said to the crowd.

Stites, who experienced some serious health issues over the last year, made the decision to retire after turning 70, the age of eligibility. He will return to his hometown of Brunersburg outside of Defiance. He is grateful to have been assigned to Ottoville.

“I loved it. I love the people,” he said. “There are really great people here; such strong families and strong faith, a beautiful church.”

Prior to Ottoville, Stites spent 20 years at Cardinal Stritch in Oregon, Ohio. He also spent time at St. Rita’s Medical Center and a few years at Lima Central Catholic.

Timothy Mahoney from Cardinal Stritch was present to say a few words on his friend’s retirement.

“It was difficult to lose Father John but I’m grateful he ended up in Ottoville,” he said. “I know he greatly enjoyed serving the people of Immaculate Conception. I have had the privilege to be a teacher, coach, administrator and parishioner with Father John but I feel most privileged to have been his friend.

Even thought Stites says he will visit the people of Ottoville, he will still be missed.

“We’ll miss him so much. He was the best priest we ever had,” Parishioner Ethel Recker said.

Rev. John Stites visits with parishioners at his farewell party Sunday. “He was always so good with the kids and he would talk to anybody and everybody,” Jean Hilvers added. “He always told a joke.”

Ryan Bendele, 13, had his own praise to offer.

“Beast of a priest,” he said.

Stites says he will return to Brunersburg for his retirement and plans to still help out different parishes on the weekends.

Last Updated on Sunday, June 23, 2013 11:56 PM
 

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