Sr. Mary Johnellen Garrity dies Jan. 8

Sister Mary Johnellen Garrity, who taught at Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School in Wichita from 1981 to 1994, died Monday, Jan. 8, in Dubuque, Iowa. She was a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 72 years.
She also taught in secondary schools in Dubuque and Chicago, and elementary schools in Chicago and in Hempstead and Bellerose, N.Y.
Sister Mary Johnellen was born in Chicago on Jan. 11, 1927, to John Joseph and Mary Ellen Lonergan Garrity. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1945, from St. Andrew Parish in Chicago. She professed first vows on March 19, 1948, and final vows on Aug. 15, 1953.
Memorials may be given to the Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52003, or online at https://www.bvmcong.org/support_donate.cfm.

Obituaries, January 19, 2018

BUSSE
John, 71, St. Patrick, Chanute, Nov. 10.
LONG
Lonnie Dale, 57, St. Jude, Wichita, Dec. 17.
PALACIOZ
Johnny Raymond, Sr., 68, Holy Savior, Wichita, Dec. 17.
ROHLMAN
Linda Jean (Simon), 56, St. Joseph, Andale, Dec. 19.
MARTIN
Enriquez, 81, All Saints, Wichita, Dec. 20.
MASCORRO
Armando, 91, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, Dec. 20.
SMITH
Marcus E., Jr., “Mark,” 69, St. Joseph, Andale, Dec. 21.
TAPIA
March Anthony “Coco,” 53, Holy Name, Winfield, Dec. 21.
BENHAM
Tim L., 88, St. Joseph, Wichita, Dec. 22.
MATHEWS
Florence “Polly,” 95, Holy Name, Winfield, Dec. 22.
McGUIGAN
Madge (Coggins), 86, Sacred Heart, Arkansas City, Dec. 22.
OSNER
Leonard M., 58, Sacred Heart, Cunningham, Dec. 22.
STRUMFA
Ruth C., 93, St. John, El Dorado, Dec. 22.
RAMIREZ
Eusebio L. “Sammy,” 96, St. Patrick, Parsons, Dec. 23.
DUIVENVOODEN
Mary Helen, 79, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Dec. 24.
KLEIN
Ruth D., 62, St. Patrick, Parsons, Dec. 24.
HOSKINSON
Estelle, 90, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, Dec. 25.
ZIMMERMAN
Donald L. “Donnie,” 63, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Dec. 26.
KARLIN
James Francis, 81, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, Dec. 27.
ALBARRACIN
Dr. Alan, M.D., 69, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Dec. 28.
NOYES
Marc “Bear,” 59, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Dec. 28.
PEREZ
Robert “Bob,” 96, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, Dec. 28.
LEDESMA
Salvador R., 70, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 29.
RADEMACHER
Mary Jane (Liethen), 74, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Dec. 29.
VOEGELI
John, Jr., 94, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Dec. 29.
WALTERSCHEID
Robert Eric “Catfish,” 61, St. Anthony, Wichita, Dec. 29.
CAO
Catherine Nhiem Thi, 92, St. Anthony, Wichita, Dec. 30.
LIES
Marie Magdalen, 97, St. Joseph, Andale, Dec. 30.
LOURIS
Mary Ellen, 95, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Dec. 30.
WALLENTINE
Lorrie, 58, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Dec. 30.
WEBB
Joann Ellen East, 80, St. Anne, Wichita, Dec. 31.
CARSON
John Joseph “Joe,” 93, St. Patrick, Parsons, Jan. 2.
HORSCH
Mathew John “Bud,” 95, St. Patrick, Wichita, Jan. 2.
PAYNE
Virginia L., 87, St. Mary, Newton, Jan. 2.
LANDER
Judy K., 61, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Jan. 3.
DEITER
Norman, 84, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Jan. 4.
ORTIZ
Erlinda Mora, 93, All Saints, Wichita, Jan. 4.
VILLAR
Mary T., 84, St. Joseph, Wichita, Jan. 4.
GODFREY
John William, 82, St. Paul, Lyons, Jan. 5.
JOHNSON
William, Sr., “Bill,” 77, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Jan. 5.
JOY
Bessie Jane, 92, St. Mary, Newton, Jan. 5.
HEIMAN
Cleora A., 76, All Saints, Wichita, Jan. 6.
NEWTON-REID
Sharon J., 79, St. Mary, Newton, Jan. 6.
GORGES
Richard Allen “Dick,” 71, Sacred Heart, Colwich, Jan. 7.
JIMENEZ
Cecilia M., 60, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Jan. 7.
KEISER
Theresa, 72, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Jan. 7.
QUIER
Adele Vodicka, 93, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Jan. 7.
URBANEK
Norma R., 91, St. Joseph, McPherson, Jan. 7.
KOENIGS
Jo Ann Loretta (Winter), 85, Holy Spirit, Goddard, Jan. 8.
MARTINEZ
Margaret, 92, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Jan. 8.
SHERIDAN
Thomas A., 70, St. Joseph, McPherson, Jan. 8.
SILHAN
Cheryl Kay, 47, St. John Nepomucene, Pilsen, Jan. 8.
JUAREZ
Angel J., 90, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Newton, Jan. 9.
MANS
Anthony Frederick “Tony,” 87, St. Teresa, Hutchinson, Jan. 9.
MENDOZA
Victoria, 52, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Jan. 9.
SEIWERT
Delia Ruth (VanLeeuwen) “Dee,” 93, St. Francis, St. Paul, Jan. 9.
WEBER
Pauline Eva, 89, St. Mark, St. Mark, Jan. 9.

Sister Helen Ridder dies Dec. 22 at 82

Sister Helen Ridder, an Adorer of the Blood of Christ for 64 years, died Friday, Dec. 22. She was 82.
A Mass of Resurrection was celebrated Wednesday, Dec. 27, in the Chapel of the New Covenant with Fr. Tom Welk presiding. Burial in the community cemetery followed.
She was born July 20, 1935, in Derby, to John and Agnes (Abt) Ridder, the fifth of eight children.
Sister Helen entered the Wichita ASC community on Jan. 1, 1952, pronounced first vows on July 1, 1953, and permanent vows on July 1, 1958.
She graduated from high school at Sacred Heart Academy in 1954 and earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Sacred Heart College in 1962. She graduated from Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia in 1971, with a master’s degree in education. For 21 years, she taught primary students, mostly in Kansas.
Sister did pastoral ministry for 11 years in Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, and Texas, where she served rural areas in the Diocese of El Paso.
She spent a summer in Guatemala while the recently beatified Father Stan Rother was there.
In 1989, she was certified for family counseling and drug/alcohol rehabilitation and ministered in the Wichita Acuto Spirituality Center for seven years.
Sister Helen worked at the environmental advocacy and education center, EarthWorks in Plymouth, Indiana, for three years.
In 2000, she worked for the Land Institute of Salina, Kansas, that studies and shares alternative agriculture methods. She also enjoyed music, arts and reading.
Sister Helen returned to the ASC Wichita Center in 2005, retired there in 2013 and moved into Caritas Center in 2016.
She is survived by her brother Jerome, nieces, nephews, cousins, and her ASC community members.
Memorials in her name may be made online at adorers.org or by mailing them to the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region Mission Center, 4233 Sulphur Ave., St. Louis, MO 63109

Obituaries, January 5, 2018

BOARDMAN
Robert Duane, 55, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Oct. 31.
ADAMS
William O. “Bill,” 74, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, Dec. 4.
HUTTON
Judith Lynne, 55, St. Paul, Lyons, Dec. 5.
CATES
Robert “Bob,” 59, St. Peter, Schulte, Dec. 7.
WEBER
Lawrence A., 81, St. Mary, Aleppo, Dec. 7.
DICK
Paul C., 85, St. John, Zenda, Dec. 8.
KILLMAN
Brian P., 40, St. Mary, Newton, Dec. 9.
KLENDA
Bernice Leona (Kerschen), 90, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Dec. 9.
BUTTERFIELD
Catherine D. “Cathy,” 49, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 10.
SKLOICH
Glen P., 83, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Dec. 10.
DYE
John, 81, St. Mary, Derby, Dec. 10.
AKERS
Kitty A., 68, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 11.
BARTHOLOMEW
Elizabeth June “Betty,” 88, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Dec. 11.
LEITNER
Harold “Gene,” 91, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Dec. 11.
MARTIN
Rosemary B. (Cordell), 81, St. Mark, St. Mark, Dec. 11.
CHURCH
Nicole Lynn, 27, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Dec. 14.
LEEKER
Robert Dean, 68, St. James, Augusta, Dec. 15.
DOSS
Joseph John, 94, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Dec. 16.
FLUSCHE
Kitty, 90, St. Cecilia, Haysville, Dec. 16.
HANNA
Edward L., 95, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 16.
RENTERIA
Bertha I., 85, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Dec. 16.
DeTHAMPLE
Kent P., 61, Church of the Magdalen, Wichita, Dec. 17.
SCHMITT
Elizabeth J. “Betty,”, 88, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Dec. 18.
KELLER
Debra Kay (Rink), 64, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Dec. 19.
LOPEZ
Trenton M. “Bubba,” 20, St. Francis of Assisi, Wichita, Dec. 19.
VEITH
L. Darlene, 93, Christ the King, Wichita, Dec. 19.
EHERT
David Wayne, 63, St. Joseph, Andale, Dec. 20.

Fr. O’Shea’s wit never dwindled

Funeral Mass for Father Sean was Friday, Dec. 1, at the Cathedral
Father Sean O’Shea kept his Irish wit about him – even as death neared.
After asking Father John Sherlock to deliver the homily at his funeral, he said, “Keep it short – but not too short!”
Father Sherlock then asked him what he wanted him to preach about. “I don’t know,” Father O’Shea replied. “I won’t be there. What’s more, that’s your job!”
Father Sherlock, a retired priest of the Diocese of Wichita, fulfilled Father O’Shea’s request Friday, Dec. 1, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, after Fr. O’Shea’s death Monday, Nov. 27.
Speaking to a full church that included several nieces and nephews from Ireland, Father Sherlock talked about the long trip to America Father O’Shea made aboard the RMS Mauritania after his ordination in 1950. Before he left, he said, the farewells included the equivalent to an Irish wake, where amid food and drink, good-byes were given with the understanding that they may never meet again.
“Once here, he undertook his commitment to be part of Christ’s mission: to live with him and die with him,” Fr. Sherlock said. “Fr. Sean’s life was enhanced by the priestly ministry. He flourished as he acted ‘in persona Christi.’”
He said the Irish priest’s journey began on the Emerald Isle and ended in Wichita. “He has run the race, he has persevered and now he awaits the ultimate reward to live with the Supreme High Priest in Heaven.”
The rebellious spirit he brought with him from County Cork, the “rebel county,” Father Sherlock said, served him in answering the needs of his parishioners for 67 years. “He was always remembering the purpose of his priesthood, the salvation of souls. This was paramount in his thinking.”
His dedication to the Catholics of the diocese continued after his retirement, he said.
“He showed his priestly and caring heart as he frequently visited the sick at the Catholic Care Center and substituted in parishes. When it was his turn to be on the receiving end, the staff at the Catholic Care Center returned the favor while looking after and caring for him affectionate and lovingly.”
Father Sherlock closed his homily by saying, “Adios!…Father Sean go with God,” and in Gaelic added, “‘Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam,’ (may he sit at the right hand of God).”
John J. O’Shea was born on Nov. 25, 1924, at Ballyknockin Maurne Abbey in County Cork and studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick College in Carlow, Ireland. He was ordained there on June 4, 1950.
About six months later Father O’Shea was appointed chaplain of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. In 1954 he was named pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Little River. That was followed by pastoral appointments at Sacred Heart in Halstead in 1960; St. Patrick, Kingman, 1967; Holy Cross, Hutchinson, 1973; and St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, 1985. He retired on Jan. 28, 1999.
Father O’Shea’s interment was in Ascension Cemetery in Wichita.

Obituaries, December 15, 2017

FASBENDER
Edna Mae (Schulte), 91, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Nov. 11.
RODRIGUEZ
Perla Marina, 42, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Nov. 14.
BECKER
Robert Herman, 77, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 16.
LIES
John A., 60, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Nov. 18.
NANCE
Alla Rebia, 90, St. Catherine of Siena, Wichita, Nov. 18.
RAUSCH
Jada Marie, 68, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 18.
HITT
George C., 82, St. Anthony/St. Rose, Wellington, Nov. 19.
GARREN
Linda K. (Londeen), 76, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Nov. 21.
MORK
Dewite Louis, 71, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 21.
PURDY
Dorothy A. “Agnes,” 74, St. Joseph, McPherson, Nov. 22.
SHEA
Farrell Patrick, 85, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Nov. 22.
DAVIS
Darlene M., 81, St. Mary, Newton, Nov. 23.
HOWARD
Helen, 89, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Nov. 23.
ARGOSINO
Dr. Rodolfo “Rudy,” 77, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 24.
MENG
James August “Jim,” 91, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 25.
STADLER
Patricia M. “Pat,” 86, St. Margaret Mary, Wichita, Nov. 25.
WILLIAMS
T.J., 83, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 26.
FARTHING
Fern Elizabeth, 95, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Nov. 27.
BEYE
Barbara J., 83, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Nov. 28.
FIEDLER
Anthony C. “Tony,” 66, St. Joseph, McPherson, Nov. 28.
McHENRY
Robert, Jr., “Bo,” 80, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 28.
MEYER
Mary Katherine, 72, St. Mary, Aleppo, Nov. 28.
SANTNER
Phyllis Marjorie (Peters), 93, St. Patrick, Wichita, Nov. 28.
STONE
Elizabeth F. “Betty,” 98, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hutchinson, Nov. 29.
KENDALL
Anna P. Sinnett, 94, St. Patrick, Kingman, Nov. 30.
ROY
Carol A. (Gordinier), 80, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 30.
BIRKET
Paula Marie, 61, St. Patrick, Wichita, Dec. 1.
MADDEN
Jack L., 82, St. Joseph, McPherson, Dec. 1.
WILSON
John Carl, Jr., 96, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Dec. 1.
MOUTZ
Madeline Carol, 79, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Dec. 2.
HIGHLAND
Glen Ivan “GI,” 88, St. Anne, Wichita, Dec. 3.
SANBURN
Floyd D., Sr., 93, All Saints, Wichita, Dec. 3.
VILLARREAL
Amanda, 24, Holy Name, Winfield, Dec. 3.
PATTON
Ann Clark, 60, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Dec. 4.
POTTER
Deanne M., 56, Sacred Heart, Anthony, Dec. 4.

Fr. O’Shea passes away Monday

Irishman was the oldest diocesan priest at 93
Father Sean O’Shea, the oldest priest in the Diocese of Wichita, died Monday night, Nov. 27, at 93. He was one of several priests who came from Ireland in the 1950s to serve in Kansas.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. today, Friday, Dec. 1, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Wichita.
John J. O’Shea was born on Nov. 25, 1924, at Ballyknockin Maurne Abbey in County Cork and studied for the priesthood at St. Patrick College in Carlow, Ireland. He was ordained there on June 4, 1950.
About six months later Father O’Shea was appointed chaplain of Mercy Hospital in Fort Scott. In 1954 he was named pastor of Holy Trinity Parish in Little River. That was followed by pastoral appointments at Sacred Heart in Halstead in 1960; St. Patrick, Kingman, 1967; Holy Cross, Hutchinson, 1973; and St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, 1985. He retired on Jan. 28, 1999.
Fr. O’Shea served the Diocese of Wichita for 67 years, substituting at Masses for his brother priests until just recently.
Just after Fr. O’Shea’s retirement, Bishop Emeritus Eugene J. Gerber said the Irish priest had two dominant passions that held together his interior life: “evangelization, and its companion, hospitality.”
“These two passions together with that of beauty form a trinity that help to understand the inner working of Father O’Shea’s life and the outer workings of his ministry,” Bishop Gerber said.
Anyone who knows Father O’Shea knows his priesthood will never retire, the bishop said. “This man of class, this priest for others, this lover of beauty, endures along with the eternal priesthood of Jesus Christ. This local church, this bishop and the ones before me, are indebted to Father O’Shea.”

Obituaries, December 1, 2017

BALOG
John, 94, Catholic Care Center, Wichita, Nov. 6.
TEJEDA
Caralina A., 96, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Wichita, Nov. 6.
PURINTON
Virginia, 95, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 9.
SIWA
Ricardo Baylen, 85, All Saints, Wichita, Nov. 9.
THIMESCH
Catherine A., 76, St. Anthony, Garden Plain, Nov. 9.
SCHMIDT
Richard H., 92, Sacred Heart, Colwich, Nov. 11.
RAYMOND
Otto John “Jack,” 91, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Wichita, Nov. 12.
GORMAN
William Terence “Bill,” 62, Our Lady of Lourdes, Pittsburg, Nov. 13.
McKINNEY
Diane C., 71, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Nov. 13.

Obituaries, November 17, 2017

CONTRERAS
J. Manuel “Manny,” 40, St. Mary Cathedral, Wichita, Oct. 23.
MAGATHAN
Paul, 96, St. Anthony, Strong City, Oct. 23.
SALGADO
Christine L., 65, St. Teresa, Hutchinson, Oct. 24.
IRWIN
Michael, 74, All Saints, Wichita, Oct. 25.
JENKINS
Johnny Lee, 66, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Oct. 25.
WASINGER
Felix R., 93, Holy Cross, Hutchinson, Oct. 25.
BEACHNER
Ryan Eugene, 36, Sacred Heart, Frontenac, Oct. 26.
SWARTZMAN
Avis A., 80, St. Vincent de Paul, Andover, Oct. 26.
LINDT
Marvin James, 84, St. Patrick, Kingman, Oct. 27.
FOSTER
Leona Marie, 85, St. Ignatius, Neodesha, Oct. 28.
SVOBODA
Barbara Jean (Worthington), 81, St. John Nepomucene, Pilsen, Oct. 28.
HABIGER
John K., 69, Holy Name, Bushton, Oct. 29.
PAULY
James E. “Jim,” 66, St. John, Clonmel, Oct. 30.
SMITH
Ann Jo, 87, St. Mary, Derby, Oct. 31.
FEY
John A. “Tony,” 66, St. Mary, Newton, Nov. 1.
HORTON
Marlene Ann, 61, Blessed Sacrament, Wichita, Nov. 1.
KIDD
Douglas Lyle, 70, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 1.
SCHAUF
Dale H., 82, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 1.
ALLEN
Patricia “Pat,” 92, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 2.
ROTTERING
Rita E., 78, St. Patrick, Kingman, Nov. 2.
TRAN
Tuyen V. “Joseph,” 97, St. Anthony, Wichita, Nov. 2.
ZIEGLER
John J., 93, St. Michael, Girard, Nov. 2.
FONSECA
Nati M., 47, Christ the King, Wichita, Nov. 3.
PETR
Brian, 24, Church of the Resurrection, Wichita, Nov. 3.
SCHLOTTHAUER
Therese Anne (Aaron) “Terry,” 87, St. Thomas Aquinas, Wichita, Nov. 3.
KAHN
Joan Gleeson, 84, Holy Savior, Wichita.
WOLKE
Donald Eugene, 72, St. Mary, Derby, Nov. 6.
EBERSOLE
Karen E. (Bebak), 53, St. John, El Dorado, Nov. 7.
NUESSEN
Donna Jo, 56, Sacred Heart, Eureka, Nov. 7.

David Gittrich was a powerful pro-life force

“Keep up the fight for life.”
The last statement published by David Gittrich summarized his sense of purpose for the past 35 years: an unending, irrepressible drive to protect the unborn.
Gittrich died of kidney cancer Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Harry Hynes Memorial Hospice at Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph in Wichita. He was 71.
A funeral Mass was celebrated at Monday, Oct. 23, at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament in Wichita. Fifteen priests of the Diocese of Wichita celebrated the Mass.
Father Curtis Hecker, the main celebrant, told the overflowing church that he always felt special knowing that he was Gittrich’s godson – until he found out that the pro-life stalwart was godfather “to half of the children in Wichita.”
He said Gittrich lived an honorable life, adding that he was the single-most powerful pro-life force he had ever known.
“That conviction drove him to do what he did day-in and day-out,” Father Hecker said, urging those at the funeral to continue Gittrich’s work – and reminding them that life is short.
The pro-life battle isn’t over, he said, and the pro-lifers have lost a general.
Father Hecker also read a letter from Bishop James D. Conley, a priest ordained for the Diocese of Wichita who is now bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, who talked about meeting Gittrich in 1985 and how he worked closely with him for years.
As a result, “I spent a lot of time in jail with David,” the bishop said, referring to the Summer of Mercy protests in front of the abortion clinic in Wichita that resulted in arrests of clergy and other pro-lifers.
Bishop Conley said the incarceration was a gift, in that he felt like one of the early apostles, imprisoned for his beliefs.
Alluding to David in the Old Testament, Bishop Conley wrote that God used David Gittrich in a mighty way, adding that Gittrich “faced the evil Goliaths of our day.”
In a statement released by Kansans for Life hours before his death, Gittrich wrote:
“Thank you for your prayers. Cancer is winning… I’d love to tell you all how much I love you… You can visit, but just to say goodbye, no visiting, or you can send cards if you want to. Pray for a peaceful death with no suffering. Keep up the fight for life.”
Gittrich was born on Dec. 20, 1946, in Wichita. He attended Blessed Sacrament School and graduated in 1964 from Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School. In 1982 he was managing the Maize Food Mart, one of four grocery stores owned by his father, when a friend showed Gittrich the pro-life documentary “Assignment Life.”
That began his unrelenting drive to protect the unborn.
He became involved in pro-life groups and with like-minded individuals incorporated Kansans for Life. Gittrich became the executive director of KFL in 1989 and helped organize community pro-life groups. At one point there were 85 KFL chapters in the state.
He served as executive director until 2000 when he moved to Kansas City to serve as director of the Respect Life office for the archdiocese. He returned to Kansans for Life in 2002 and served as development director until his death.
Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, described Gittrich as being passionate about protecting the lives of the unborn.
“He spent a great deal of time establishing a strong grassroots presence in Kansas to speak out at every level of government for the most vulnerable – and he loved doing it. I will miss having David to share ideas with, and to learn what his next plan was going to be.”
U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts said in a statement: “David lived his life to fight for the lives of others, and we are so grateful.”
Roberts added that Gittrich worked at a time when few people understood the severity regarding the issue of life. “He led the charge in the battle to protect the lives of our most vulnerable, and built a grassroots army through education and compassion. His advocacy changed the political landscape in Kansas.

Evening of Appreciation Nov. 8
Kansans for Life has planned an “Night of Appreciation for David Gittrich” on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at the Hyatt Regency in Wichita. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 7. The event was planned before Gittrich’s death, and will still go forward.