Fr. Ruess inducted into Defiance city hall of fame

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Written by LAURIE STEVENS BERTKE, Chronicle Writer   
Tuesday, 03 August 2010 00:00
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DEFIANCE—Father Charles Ruess, a Defiance native who served the people of God as a priest of the Diocese of Toledo for 67 years, was recently honored for his dedication and service to his hometown.

The late Fr. Ruess was inducted into the City Hall of Fame with five others in May.

On a plaque hanging in the Defiance City Council Chambers, the priest is described as a “servant of God” who was a “patron of the people and son of the community. He returned to his hometown to serve the sick and elderly in their time of need.”

Coyle Funeral Home
Born in Defiance, Fr. Ruess attended Defiance St. Mary School, Defiance High School and Defiance College. He went on to study at St. Joseph College in Collegeville, Ind., and St. Gregory and Mt. St. Mary seminaries in Cincinnati, and Bishop Karl J. Alter ordained him a priest Aug. 15, 1931, at Rosary Cathedral.

After serving for many years at parishes in Shelby, Toledo, Fostoria, Providence, Swanton, Paulding, New Washington and New Bavaria, Fr. Ruess retired and returned to Defiance in 1977.

There he remained active in a variety of ministries, visiting residents of area nursing homes and celebrating Masses at Defiance St. John and Defiance St. Mary until his death March 16, 1998, at age 95.

Defiance Mayor Bob Armstrong described Fr. Ruess as a person who led his life by example. “He was highly regarded throughout the community,” he said.

Mayor Armstrong, a member of St. Mary, remembered Fr. Ruess for his service to the Defiance parishes and to the local Knights of Columbus council, where Fr. Ruess held the post of chaplain for 28 years.

“All of us got to know him really well, and always appreciated his sense of humor and his willingness to serve in any way that he could,” said Mayor Armstrong. “I think that he was happy himself to be able to come back to Defiance, Ohio, and be a part of our community, and it was really our pleasure to all of us at St. Mary’s and at St. John’s, and everyone at the K of C, to have known Fr. Reuss.”

The mayor said a committee of community leaders chose this year’s hall of fame inductees from a pool of about 20 nominees. This was Fr. Ruess’ first time on the ballot.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 August 2010 00:00