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Rev. John William Groner

Deceased: 2023-01-06


ICTE Fall: 2005

The Rev. John William Groner, 78, of Folk Missouri, retired Priest of the Diocese of Jefferson City, passed away peacefully Friday, January 6, 2023, in Westphalia, Missouri after battling cancer.

Father John W. Groner was born on January 3, 1945, in Jefferson City, Missouri, the son of the late John H. and Lydia H. (Westerman) Groner.

He is survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Bernard and Donna Groner; nine nieces and nephews, Cheryl (Jerry) Flickinger, Maria Groner (Phillip) Watson, Dr. Alice Groner, Father Eric M. Groner, SVD, a priest of the Society of the Divine Word, Laurie Groner Honan, Dr. Jennifer Groner, Yvonne Groner Nelli, Kurt P. Groner, Amanda Groner (Andrew) Avenoso; fifteen grandnieces and grandnephews; one great-grandnephew; and his brother priests.

He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Lydia, three brothers, Richard Groner, Henry Groner and Robert Groner; his sister-in-law Joann Groner; his uncle, Monsignor Bernard S. Groner, who also served in the Diocese of Jefferson City, and his long-term caregiver Jewel Tawney.

Father Groner attended Immaculate Conception School in Jefferson City from 1951-1959 and Helias High School in Jefferson City from 1959-1961. He then entered St. Thomas Aquinas Preparatory Seminary in Hannibal from 1961-1963 and Immaculate Conception Seminary College in Conception, Missouri from 1963-1971. Father Groner received a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy with a minor in Social Studies in 1967 and received his Master’s degree in 1971. He was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ on Pentecost Sunday, May 30, 1971, by Most Reverend Michael F. McAuliffe at Immaculate Conception Church in Jefferson City.

His pastoral assignments included: Associate Pastor, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Columbia, July 1, 1971-May 24, 1974; Associate Pastor, San Juan Bautista, Marcona, Peru, 1974-1977; Temporary Administrator, Bourbon and Leasburg parishes, May-July 15, 1978; Pastor, Holy Rosary Church, Monroe City and St. John, Hunnewell, July 15, 1978-June 30, 1984; Administrator, St. Stephen Church, Indian Creek, January 3, 1983-June 30, 1984; Director of Peru Mission Office and Director of the Propagation of the Faith, January 1, 1983-January 16, 1986; Pastor, Holy Family Church, Freeburg, January 1986-July 15, 1993; Pastor, Holy Family Church, Hannibal, July 15, 1993-July 1, 1998; Pastor, St. Brendan Church, Mexico, July 1, 1998-June 30, 2000; Pastor, St. Robert Bellarmine Church, St. Robert and St. Jude Church, Richland, June 30, 2000-2021; Pastor, St. Theresa Church, Dixon and St. Cornelius Church, Crocker, July 23, 2013-July 1, 2014; and Canonical Pastor, St. Theresa Church, Dixon and St. Cornelius Church, Crocker, July 1, 2014-July 1, 2015.

Other positions held by Father Groner include: Co-Director of Mission Office, January 16, 1986-July 1, 1991; Consultant to the Bishop on Mission Affairs, July 1, 1991–July 15, 1993; Mission Committee, April 5, 2010-2022; College of Consultors, 1983-1998; Priests’ Personnel Board, 1992-1998; Priests’ Senate, 1984-1998; Presbyteral Council, Oct 1, 2000-Oct 1, 2004 and Oct 1, 2011-Oct 1, 2013; Dean, Hannibal Deanery, 1981-1983; and he assisted with Spanish Masses at Holy Cross Church, Cuba, July 1, 2010-2022.

Father Groner was devoted to his vocation. He took great joy in being a part of his parishioners’ lives and lived his calling in the hours and minutes he spent with them. He celebrated his 25th Anniversary of Holy Priesthood on May 26, 1996, at Holy Family Church in Hannibal and his 50th Anniversary of Holy Priesthood at St. Robert Bellarmine Church in St. Robert on Sunday, June 27, 2021. In his retirement he continued to serve the diocese until his health no longer permitted.

To his family, Father Groner was known as Johnny, Beloved Son, Little Brother, Favorite Uncle. To his friends he was John, generous, gruff, and golden. Johnny was the one who completed family gatherings and friend celebrations, filling the room with his booming voice and laughter, bearing the gifts of his labor: the bread he baked, the wine he made.

John was an adventurous person of broad interests which he pursued with gusto. He loved to hunt and fish, hosting deer camps and organizing trout fishing getaways. He traveled North America, South America and Europe with family and friends. He hiked the Appalachian Trail, skied the backcountry of the Rocky Mountains, and climbed the ruins of Machu Picchu with his mother on her 70th birthday. He loved to challenge himself to learn new skills and never did so half-heartedly. He decided to learn race walking and then trained for and completed a 26 mile marathon. He decided to make pizza and so built a pizza oven. He decided to make wine and so planted a vineyard.

John remained busy until his final months, living and working on the Groner Family century farm in Folk, MO. He was active with the Ole Dogz of Westphalia, MO and in the lives of his family and friends. He loved and was loved, and he will be missed.

Visitation will be held at Trimble Funeral Homes – Jefferson City, Missouri, on Sunday, January 15, 2023, from 2-4 p.m. with the Wake Service to follow at 4 p.m. led by the Rev. Msgr. Marion J. Makarewicz. Additional visitation will be held Monday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church from 9:30-11 a.m.

The concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial will be Monday, January 16, 2023, at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jefferson City, by Most Reverend John R. Gaydos, Bishop Emeritus of Jefferson City, Fr. Matthew Flatley, Fr. Eric Groner SVD, Priests of the Diocese and guest priests. Fr. Patrick Dolan will be the Homilist.

Burial will be in the Groner family plot in Resurrection Catholic Cemetery in Jefferson City, Missouri.

Memorials are suggested to Catholic Missions or to any Catholic parish school.