Gervase McMillen, OFM
1903 – 1976
Fr. Gervase McMillen, OFM, was born on Feb. 17, 1903 in Corning, N.Y. He completed his secondary education at the old St. Bonaventure Prep School in 1921. Fr. Gervase played five consecutive seasons of varsity basketball and was the first Bonaventure athlete to win national recognition by the All-American selection committee. He turned down offers from professional basketball teams to enter the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1926. He professed temporary vows one year later and made his solemn profession and was ordained in 1930.
After ordination, Fr. Gervase joined the Province’s Mission Band, where he became known as a humorous, unconventional preacher. He served two terms as a chaplain in the United States Navy and was with his men in the invasion of Leyte, Philippines, and Borneo. After leaving the service, Fr. Gervase established St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle, Va. Illness forced him to retire to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla., but he never lost his sense of humor or cheerfulness.
He died on Feb. 26, 1976 in St. Petersburg. Fr. Gervase was 73 years old, a professed friar for 48 years and a priest for 45 years.