MONTCLAIR, N.J. — Br. Charles Gilmartin, OFM, 91, a professed Franciscan friar for 69 years, died on Oct. 26 in Mountainside Hospital not far from where he had lived and worked most of his life.
Funeral services are planned for Oct. 30 at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Butler, New Jersey. Visitation is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 a.m. Provincial Minister Fr. Kevin Mullen, OFM, will preside and Fr. Emmet Murphy, OFM, will preach the homily. Burial will be at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.
Br. Charles was born on April 26, 1930 in New York City to John and Anne (née Joynt) and was baptized Francis. He attended St. Monica’s School in New York City and Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, New York.
Br. Charles was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 11, 1951 in Paterson, New Jersey, where he professed his first vows as a Franciscan a year later, on Aug. 13, 1952, before Fr. Celsus Wheeler, OFM. He worked for a year at Holy Cross Parish in Callicoon, New York, doing general house work as well as farm work. From 1953 to 1954, he served as sacristan at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. He was then stationed at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, where he served as sacristan and chauffeur for the next two years.
Br. Charles professed his solemn vows before Fr. Donald Hoag, OFM, on Aug. 17, 1955 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, New York.
Br. Charles spent his religious life in service roles at friaries and parishes mainly in the metropolitan New York area, including nearly 50 years at the Church of St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street in Manhattan.
He was stationed there in 1956, serving as sacristan and chauffeur for a year before he was assigned to San Juan, Puerto Rico. He spent a year there working as a jack of all trades before being assigned to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he worked for three years at the front desk of Our Lady’s Chapel.
In 1961, Br. Charlie, as he was known, returned to New York City, where he was to live for nearly half a century. Br. Charles was assigned from 1961 until December 2002 to St. Francis Parish-Friary where he supervised the front desk, maintained guest rooms, and served in what was then called parlor duty. From 2003 until 2010, Br. Charles lived at All Saints Parish on East 129th Street, where he served as a pastoral assistant and senior associate friar.
In 2010, Br. Charlie retired to St. Anthony Residence in Boston, where he lived for two years. In 2012, he moved to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, New Jersey. During his retired years, Br. Charles enjoyed maintaining friendships by phone with New Yorkers whose lives he touched with his spiritual guidance and outreach — including many who had spent a better part of their lives in recovery programs, according to an article published in the Provincial newsletter.
Br. Charles is survived by a sister-in-law, Faith Gilmartin of Lakewood, Pennsylvania, and a cousin, Ellen Harris of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Jocelyn Thomas, director of communications for Holy Name Province.
- “Province Announces Withdrawal from Callicoon Parish” – May 24, 2017, HNP Today
- “Province Announces Closing of Boston Retirement Friary” – March 14, 2012, HNP Today
- “New Pastor Installed at Manhattan’s All Saints Church” – Oct. 8, 2008, HNP Today