Joseph Ganssle, OFM
1931 – 2008
Fr. Joseph Ganssle, OFM, was born on May 15, 1931 in Brooklyn, N.Y. He entered St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1945 and was received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.J., in 1951. He professed temporary vows one year later, made his solemn profession in 1955 and was ordained in 1958.
His first assignment was to Bishop Timon High School, Buffalo, N.Y., where he taught for three years. In 1962, he volunteered for the Province’s mission in Brazil. He returned to the United States and was assigned to St. Elizabeth Friary, Denver, in 1967. There, he served as a part-time hospital chaplain and assistant army chaplain. Fr. Joseph founded Narc-Anon, Inc., a drug rehabilitation group, of which he served as president.
When, in 1982, the Province withdrew from St. Elizabeth Parish, Fr. Joseph headed the Religious Coalition for a Moral Drug Policy. He also organized an independent Catholic school, Our Lady of the Rosary Academy in Denver, where he served as principal. After briefly ministering at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Narrowsburg, N.Y., he retired to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla.
He died on March 31, 2008 at St. Anthony Hospital in St. Petersburg. Fr. Joseph was 76 years old, a professed friar for 55 years and a priest for 49 years.