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Rev. Thomas G. Votraw

Deceased: 2007-09-02


Seminary Graduation Year: 1961

OGDENSBURG — The Rev. Thomas George Votraw, 72, died on Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007, at United Helpers Nursing Home in Ogdensburg,N.Y.He had been a resident there for a number of years.

The Most Rev. Robert J. Cunningham, bishop of Ogdensburg, will preside at the funeral Mass, which will be held at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Friday, Sept. 7, at 11 a.m. Priests of the diocese will concelebrate. Burial will be in the Priests’ Section of St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Father Votraw was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on April 7, 1935, the son of the late Thomas G. and Amelia A. (Mousseau) Votraw Rougeau. After graduation from the Au Sable Forks High School in 1952, he attended Albany State Teachers College for one year. He then began his preparations for the priesthood, studying at Wadhams Hall from 1953 to 1957. Father Votraw was assigned to theological studies in Rome,Italy, where he was ordained a priest on Dec. 18, 1960, at the chapel of the North American College, with Most Rev. Martin J. O’Connor as the ordaining prelate. Father Votraw returned to begin priestly ministry in the diocese in July 1961.

Father Votraw served in many parishes as an assisted pastor. These include: St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg, Our Lady of Victory Church in Plattsburgh, St. Patrick’s Church in Chateaugay andSt. Joseph’s Church,West Chazy. He was named pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church in Morristown in 1973. During this time, he was a regular columnist for the North Country Catholic, writing about the geography and the people of the diocese. Father Votraw observed the centennial of the Diocese of Ogdensburg by taking a week-long 202 mile hike from Lake Ontario to Lake Champlain, passing through each of the eight deaneries of the diocese. In 1973 to 1974, Father was pastor in St. Raymond’s in Raymondville, N.Y.In 1975, Father Votraw was named administrator and then pastor of St. Michael’s Church in Antwerp with its mission of St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia. Two years later, he became pastor ofSt. Joseph’s Church in Olmstedville, where he remained until 1985. After a brief time assisting at St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown and Notre Dame Church in Ogdensburg, Father Votraw retired. He resided at the cathedral rectory until 1998, when he entered the United Helpers Adult Home. Later he moved to Genesis Health Care in Watertown, finally returning to United Helpers Nursing Home in Ogdensburg, N.Y.

Father Votraw is survived by many cousins, including the Rev. Wilbur Votraw, Syracuse; Barbara Votraw Delaney, Chittenango; Sister Jennifer Votraw, SSJ, Ogdensburg; and Norman Votraw, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Priests’ Retirement Fund of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.

Published in the Press Republican from 9/5/2007 – 9/6/2007.