Owen J Ormsby, OFM
1923 – 1997
Fr. Owen Ormsby, OFM, was born on Feb. 22, 1923 on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, N.Y. He attended the parish elementary school, from which he earned a scholarship to Bishop Loughlin High School, where he made the varsity basketball and track teams. He attended St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., where he also played and refereed basketball, was a good scholar, and displayed his remarkable speaking and singing voice in the leading roles of “H.M.S. Pinafore” and “Macbeth.”
He was received into the Order at St. Bonaventure Friary, Paterson, N.Y., in 1944, professing temporary vows one year later. Fr. Owen made his solemn profession in 1948 and was ordained in 1950. His first assignment was to St. Bonaventure University, where he served for one year before moving to Christ the King Seminary, Allegany, N.Y.
Next he attended Quebec’s Laval University for graduate studies in philosophy, returning to Christ the King each summer to supervise its busy retreat program. He obtained his licentiate in 1957. That year, in addition to his teaching duties, he became chaplain of St. Francis Hospital in Olean, N.Y., for what proved to be a 17-year tenure. Fr. Owen then became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Rochelle Park, N.J., where he served for three years before becoming an assistant at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City.
After five years, he joined the Province’s Mission Band, preaching missions throughout the United States while residing in Paterson and East Rutherford, N.J. He moved to St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., in the early 1990s before transferring to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, N.J.
He died in Ringwood on Dec. 23, 1997. Fr. Owen was 74 years old, a professed Franciscan friar for 52 years, and a priest for 47 years.