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Rev. Thomas F. Goekler

Deceased: 2010-11-25


ICTE Fall: 1998

GOEKLER, Rev. Thomas F. Reverend Thomas F. Goekler, priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford, CT for 35 years and subsequently a member of the Society of Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, died quietly in his sleep at his mission in Casa Juan Gerardi Catholic Worker House, Guatemala City on November 25, 2010. Son of the late Frank J. and Margaret Cox Goekler, he was born in 1941 in New Haven, Ct. He graduated from Notre Dame High School, West Haven, CT, St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield and St. Bernard Seminary, Rochester, NY. He obtained a doctorate of ministry from Hartford Theological Seminary. In Hartford, besides his parish duties, particularly at Sacred Heart parish, Hartford, he taught theology and justice at Northwest Catholic High School in Hartford and spent a total of 11 years with Maryknoll in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and China. In the 1970s and ’80s, as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Hartford, CT. He mentored a youth group and tutoring program which became models for human development and from which dozens of Hartford’s best community leaders have arisen. He dedicated his priestly life to accompanying the youth in poor, marginal and violent neighborhoods. He was a co-founder of the Amistad Catholic Worker in New Haven, CT, and the Catholic Worker was his home. He founded Caminando Por La Paz, and Jovenes En La Calle, which have led hundreds of young people out of street gangs and thousands into new homes. Father Tom was a single-minded, single-hearted and tireless advocate for the betterment of people’s lives all over the world. He was a monk who chose to dwell in the poorest, noisiest, most crowded and stress-ridden places, practicing radical non-violence, praying constantly and carrying the simple loving presence of God. He leaves behind sisters Margaret (Robert) Marlowe, Woodbridge, CT; Frances Goekler-Morneau, his twin, (Normand), New Haven, CT; Helen Macauley (Arthur), Westerly, RI and Sr. Eleanor Goekler, SMIC of Paterson, NJ. Nieces and nephews, numerous grand nieces and nephews, and a great grandniece. He was predeceased by nephew Joseph Morneau, Sr. Extended family include the youth of Chamelecon, Honduras, Casa Juan Gerardi Catholic Worker House, Guatemala City, the community of Amistad Catholic Worker House in New Haven, CT and his Maryknoll family. Donations in Father Tom’s memory may be sent to: Amistad Catholic Worker House, 203 Rosette Street, New Haven, CT 06519 for continuation of the on-going ministries in which he was involved.