Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
Rest in peace: Deacon John Gress, 1927-2006
the Inland Register
(From the Oct. 5, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)
Deacon John Gress, ordained a deacon for the Diocese of Spokane in 1994, died Sept. 25 in Spokane. He was 79 years old.
No vigil or funeral were scheduled, upon his request.
He grew up in Prosser, Wash., the youngest of nine children. After serving a hitch in the U.S. Army, he returned and married Jewell, his “childhood sweetheart,” in 1948. They had four children. Jewell preceded him in death in 1977.
Ten years later, Gress retired from a career with Burlington Northern Railroad.
He entered deacon formation for the Spokane Diocese and was ordained Dec. 9, 1994.
His time as a deacon was spent within St. Patrick Parish, Spokane, where he engaged in such diverse ministries as visits to Hospice patients and the homebound, sacramental preparation, adult education, preaching, Communion services, and reaching out to those who had been alienated from the Church.
He was widely regarded as a man of great gentleness, kindness, compassion, and love.
Deacon John Sicilia, Director of Deacons for the Spokane Diocese, knew Deacon Gress through a small prayer group to which they both belonged for a time.
“He was so kind,” said Deacon Sicilia. No matter what happened, Deacon Gress “just never complained. He really was a humble servant. He just wanted to help people, to serve people,” said Deacon Sicilia. “He touched people with his humility and his gentleness. He’s certainly going to be missed by everyone he came in touch with.”