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Former Navy Chaplain Evan Greco Dies

POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. — Evan Greco, OFM, 86, a professed Franciscan for 63 years and a priest for 58, died on Dec. 27 at Chilton Hospital. 

A wake will be held on Dec. 30, from 4 to 8 p.m., at St. Anthony Church, 65 Bartholdi Ave., Butler, N.J., with a wake service at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 at St. Anthony Church. Burial will follow at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler.

Early Years
Evan was born on Jan. 3, 1930, in Bloomfield, N.J., to Salvatore and Genevieve (nee Krott) Greco and baptized Russell Anthony at Holy Cross Church in Harrison, N.J. After graduating from Seton Hall Preparatory High School in South Orange, N.J., in 1947, he attended Seton Hall University from 1947 to 1951, while also serving in the National Guard for two years, before joining the friars.

He was received into the Franciscan Order on Aug. 12, 1952, in Paterson, N.J., where he professed first vows the following year. He studied philosophy at St. Francis College in Rye Beach, N.H., and went on to St. Anthony Friary in Butler, and Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., for his theological education. Evan professed solemn vows on Aug. 20, 1957, and was ordained to the priesthood on April 25, 1958, at Mount Saint Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C., by Archbishop Egidio Vagnozzi (later Cardinal).

Ministry
He began his priestly ministry teaching biology and math at Timon High School in Buffalo, N.Y., from 1958 to 1960. He shifted to parish work in 1961, serving at St. Francis Church in Triangle, Va., for a year.

In 1962, Evan joined the U.S. Navy as chaplain and ministered in that capacity for the next 24 years. He served on the USS Coral Sea in Vietnam and also with the marines in Vietnam. He was also stationed in Guam, Italy, and several places in California. He was given the Navy Commendation Medal in 1970.

After retiring from the service in 1986, Evan was assigned to St. Francis Church in Oceanside, Calif., where he spent the next two years. Then, in 1988, he relocated to Thomasville, Ga., where he served as pastor of St. Augustine Church for five years.

Returning to the East Coast in 1993, Evan ministered at several parishes in Sullivan County, N.Y. He was pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Yulan until 2002, and then served as interim pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Narrowsburg from 2002 to 2005. During this time, he was also regional associate for five parishes in the county.

Evan served as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Totowa, N.J., from 2005 to 2013. He retired to St. Anthony Friary in Butler in 2013.

He is survived by brothers John Greco, Richard Greco and Fr. Raymond Greco, OSB, and sisters Alberta Greco, Angela McCluskey, and Mary Ann Scharf, among other family members.

Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd St., New York, NY 10001-3202.

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