RINGWOOD, N.J. — Robert Gavin, OFM, 89, a Franciscan friar for 60 years and a priest for 56, died May 19 at Holy Name Friary.
A wake will be held on Thursday, May 21 from 5 to 8 p.m., with a wake service at 7:30 p.m., at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, May 22 at 11 a.m. at the church, with Provincial Vicar Lawrence Hayes, OFM, as principal celebrant and Felix McGrath, OFM, as homilist. Burial will take place on Saturday, May 23 at 3 p.m. at St. Bonaventure Cemetery in Allegany, N.Y.
Born on Nov. 22, 1925 to Bernard and Ora Lee Gavin, Robert was baptized Richard at St. Mary of the Angels Church in Olean, N.Y. After high school and service in World War II, he attended St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, graduating with a degree in philosophy in 1950.
After serving in the Korean conflict, Robert was received into the Order of Friars Minor in 1953 in Paterson, N.J. He professed his first vows there the following year, and went on to study philosophy at St. Francis College, Rye Beach, N.H., and theology at Holy Name College in Washington.
Robert professed solemn vows in 1957 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany. He was ordained to the priesthood two years later at Mount St. Sepulchre in Washington.
After ordination, Robert returned to St. Bonaventure University, where he taught in the school of business from 1959 to 1962. He was later appointed vice president for alumni and development, and served in that capacity from 1962 to 1966. He then transferred to St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J., where he was involved with the Franciscan youth apostolate.
In 1967, Robert relocated to New York City, where he would minister for the next 47 years at St. Francis of Assisi Church. In addition to serving as parochial vicar, he was a spiritual assistant to the St. Benedict Moor Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order and taught in the adult education center.
Early in his ministry at St. Francis, Robert completed a master’s degree in education from the Iona College Graduate Institute of Pastoral Counseling in Riverdale, N.Y. He was a fellow in the American Institute for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis from 1971 to 1979. Robert was a founding member of St. Francis Parish’s counseling center, which he directed for several years.
He retired from active ministry in May 2014. After a brief stay at St. Anthony Friary in Butler, N.J., he moved to Holy Name Friary last September.
Robert is survived by a cousin, Mary McTigue of Ossining, N.Y. Robert was predeceased by a sister, Sr. Frances Ann Gavin, OSF, of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, N.Y., who died April 29. He is also predeceased by his parents, a brother, Robert, and a cousin, Sr. Mary of the Angels Moore, OSF.
Memorial donations may be sent to Franciscan Friars – Holy Name Province, 144 West 32nd Street, New York, NY 10001-3202.
— Compiled by Carolyn Croke and Maria Hayes