POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. — Gerard Lee, OFM, 78, a professed Franciscan friar for 53 years and a priest for 49, died on Feb. 28 at Chilton Hospital here. Funeral services were held at Siena College where he had lived before retiring.
A wake took place from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on March 3 at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel in Loudonville, New York. A Mass of the Resurrection was celebrated by Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, at the chapel at 11 a.m. that day with burial taking place at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, New York.
Gerard was born July 1, 1941, in Albany, New York, to Robert and Lena (née Balboni) and was baptized in Springfield, Massachusetts. After graduating from Albany High School in 1959, Gerard attended Siena College in nearby Loudonville, graduating with a degree in biology. He studied at St. Joseph Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, New York, before entering the Franciscan Order in 1965, making his first profession of vows at St. Raphael’s Novitiate in Lafayette, New Jersey, on July 15, 1965.
Gerard professed his final vows on May 17, 1969, at Holy Name College in Washington, D.C., before Finian Kerwin, OFM. He earned a master’s in theology from Augustinian College in Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on Jan. 9, 1971 by Bishop Joseph Berardin at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C.
After ordination, Gerard was assigned to Puerto Rico as a missionary for two years. From 1972 until 1985, he was assigned to the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, and for the next two years he was stationed in New Jersey, working at two parishes – St. Anthony of Padua in Butler and St. Joseph in East Rutherford. In 1991, he was assigned to Albany, where he served as chaplain at Teresian House skilled nursing community until 1998, when he moved to Boston.
Gerard was stationed at St. Anthony Shrine from 1998 until 2000 when he returned to New York. He was based at Siena College and worked at St. Francis Chapel in nearby Colonie for 18 years, 13 of them as director. He retired in autumn 2018 to Butler, New Jersey.
Gerard is survived by a nephew, Steve Lee of Palos Hills, Illinois.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.