Felix Reitlingshofer, OFM
1901 – 1985
Fr. Felix Reitlingshofer, OFM, was born on Oct. 13, 1901 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., for a time before returning to St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn. He was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1924, professing temporary vows one year later. Fr. Felix made his solemn profession in 1928 and was ordained in 1930.
For five years, he taught at the Callicoon seminary and cared for the parishes in Narrowsburg and Lake Huntington, N.Y. In 1936, Fr. Felix was appointed master of clerics and professor at St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J. After World War II began, he became a chaplain in the United States Navy and served on the much-assaulted aircraft carrier Enterprise. He saw much action in the South Pacific and was awarded seven battle stars.
After he returned from the war, he was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Norfolk, Va., until 1946. Fr. Felix was appointed pastor of St. Elizabeth’s Church in Denver and later served as pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Allegany, N.Y. In 1952, he became chaplain and teacher at St. Francis Novitiate of the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn in Huntington, N.Y. He also served in the same capacity at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, N.Y.
From 1958 to 1962, Fr. Felix again served the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn for four years. He also did pastoral work in Beach Haven, N.J., and Winsted, Conn., and at St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla. After a year as curator of the Province’s house at Margate, N.J., Fr. Felix went to the new retirement friary in St. Petersburg, Fla., where he was elected vicar of the community.
He died on March 4, 1985 at Maria Manor in St. Petersburg. Fr. Felix was 83 years old, a professed friar for 59 years and a priest for 54 years.