RINGWOOD, N.J. — Conrad Loftus, OFM, 80, a professed Franciscan friar for 58 years and a priest for 53 years, died Jan. 2, at Holy Name Friary here. Funeral services were held Jan. 5 at the Cortona Chapel at Holy Name Friary.
Conrad was born May 3, 1927, in Bridgeport, Conn., to Thomas and Elizabeth. On May 19, 1927, he was baptized William James at St. Charles Church in Bridgeport. He attended St. Columba High School (1942-1944), Schenectady, N.Y., and St. Joseph Seminary (1944-1946) in Callicoon, N.Y.
On Aug. 12, 1948, he was received as a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province at St. Bonaventure Church in Paterson, N.J., where he professed first vows on Aug. 14, 1949, before Thomas Plassmann, OFM. After studying philosophy at St. Stephen Friary, Croghan, N.Y., and St. Anthony Friary, Butler, N.J., he studied theology at Holy Name College, Washington, D.C. There he professed his final vows on Sept. 17, 1953, before Celsus Wheeler, OFM. On May 5, 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood at Franciscan Monastery Church, Mount Saint Sepulchre, Washington, D.C., by the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Amleto G. Cicognani.
In the summer of 1955, Conrad was assigned temporarily to St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street in New York City. That September, he transferred to Siena College, Loudonville, N.Y., where he taught English. From 1956 to 1962, he was a member of the Province’s Mission Band at St. Elizabeth’s in Denver, Colo.
Military Training and Service
In 1962, Conrad began his military career as chaplain at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver. In Jan.1963, he entered the Chaplains’ School in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received his airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia. From June 1963 to July 1965, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., and then the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 1965 to 1966, he was assigned to the 1-Corps Artillery, in Korea. In September 1966, he was assigned to the JFK Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. In July 1967, he served with the Special Forces (Green Berets) in Vietnam. In 1969 to 1970, he was assigned to Fort Lewis in Washington State. From the summers of 1970 to 1973, he was assigned to the 1st Support Brigade in Mannheim, Germany.
In 1974, Conrad was selected to attend the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In 1977, he was then assigned division chaplain for the 2nd Infantry Division, in Korea. In 1979, he was instructor at the Chaplains’ School, Staten Island, N.Y., and then at Fort Monmouth, N.J. In 1981, he was assigned to Berlin, Germany, as part-time assistant to the parish priest and Command Chaplain. In 1983, he was assigned post chaplain at Fort Sill, Okla. In the summer of 1987, Conrad was given the job of director of training at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and in 1988, he became deputy commander.
Korean Assignment and Florida Retirement
On Armed Forces Day in 1992, when Conrad turned 62, he officially retired, as required by federal law. He volunteered for a few more years of active duty and accepted an assignment as staff chaplain to the 8th Army Special Troops at Youngsan, Korea, followed by a year as command chaplain of the 19th Support Commant in Taegu, Korea. On June 1, 1992, he reverted back to retired status. However, a few months later, he accepted a contract to teach soldiers at the Richard Milburn High School as well as assist at the chapel in Pusan, Korea.
From 1995 until 2003, he served as auxiliary military chaplain at Fitzsimmons Army Hospital in Denver, Colo. In November 2003, he requested full retirement with residence in Denver. In January 2005, Conrad transferred to St. Anthony Friary, St. Petersburg, Fla., and, in June 2006, relocated to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood.
Conrad’s Wake Service was celebrated Jan. 4 in the Cortona Chapel of Holy Name Friary, Guy Morgan, OFM, gave the eulogy. The following day, the Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in the Cortona Chapel. Minister Provincial John O’Connor, OFM, presided and Alcuin Coyle, OFM, preached the homily. Interment followed at Mount Calvary Cemetery in Butler, N.J.
Conrad is survived by his brother, Thomas, to whom condolences may be addressed, at 191 Lamport Boulevard, Staten Island NY 10305.