Father Hilary Vieck, 79, Pastor Emeritus of St. Peter Church in Linton, passed at 11:35 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2008, at the Bridgepointe Health Campus in Vincennes.
He was born in Knox County, St. Thomas area, on Aug/ 1, 1929, the son of Chris and Cecilia (Kaiser) Vieck.
He attended St. Thomas grade school, and, in preparation for the priesthood, he attended high school, college, and four years of theology at St. Meinrad Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955, and faithfully served the Diocese of Evansville for 53 years.
Father Vieck's first assignment was a brief 31 days at Sacred Heart Church, Evansville, followed by six years at St. John in Loogootee where he served as assistant pastor until 1961. For one year he ministered at St. Mary in Washington. In August 1962 he began six years of service as the first resident chaplain at St. Mary Hospital, teaching medical ethics and philosophy at St. Mary School of Nursing and at Evansville School of Nursing. During the last two years there, Father Vieck also served as chaplain and as team staff member at Evansville State Hospital.
From 1968-76 Father Vieck served as pastor at St. Philip in Bicknell where he and his parishioners faced the task of building a new church after a fire had totally destroyed the previous structure. During the construction period, Father Vieck employed the help of other religious denominations who loaned their facilities for services and activities. This led to a very strong bond in the community and in the Ministerial Association. At the time of his transfer in July 1976 from St. Philip to Corpus Christi Church in Evansville, the local Bicknell paper said of him, "Father Vieck is known not only as a Catholic cleric, but as an ecumenical leader, civic leader and artist." While at Corpus Christi, he was named Dean of Evansville West Side Deanery and was also elected to the Evansville Area Catholic School Board, serving as the board's chairman of the budget committee. In 1981 he was assigned to St. Matthew Church in Mount Vernon. While there he concentrated on redefining the Parish Pastoral Council and its duties.
In June 1990 Father Hilary was transferred to St. Peter in Linton and Holy Name in Bloomfield. He served as pastor of both parishes until 2002 when Holy Name was assigned a new pastor. Father continued at St. Peter, and, on July 1, 2008, he was named Pastor Emeritus. During his 18 years at St. Peter, Father Hilary's main emphasis was to steer the parish toward a full commitment to and participation in their church and community.
On June 5, 2005, when St. Peter celebrated his 50th anniversary as a Priest, Father Vieck said, "These 50 years have been joyful and fulfilling. I'm thankful to God and the Church for allowing me to share in the Priesthood. For it is indeed a Priesthood of witness and service and that is where the joy is found. For me, it is with a feeling of humility that God has allowed me to share His life with His people." He jokingly added, "After such rewarding years, I'm doing everything I can to avoid retirement."
Father Vieck was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting and fishing, and was an avid golfer. He was an avid artist, having painted over 1,200 paintings. His favorite themes were memories of life on the farm, especially of horses and depictions of wild life. During the past few years his paintings on calendars and note cards served as fundraisers for St. Peter Thrift Shop & Food Pantry, Father's favorite charity. Under his leadership Father invited the Saron, Christian, and Methodist Churches to unite their services into one thrift shop and food pantry.
Survivors include his sisters, Agnes Ottensmeyer and Loretta (Jack) Holl, both of Vincennes and Rita (Walter Joe) Primus of Lawrenceville, Ill., his brothers, Maurice (Jane) Vieck, Richard (Mary) Vieck, and Dr. Charlie (Mary Lou) Vieck, all of Vincennes, 19 nephews and 17 nieces.
He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Father Larry Vieck, in 1973, an uncle, Msgr. Charles Kaiser, in 2001, and a nephew, Rickey Vieck, in 2003.
Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at St. John's Catholic Church in Vincennes at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, with Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger and the Priest of the Diocese of Evansville Concelebrating. Burial will follow at the St. Thomas Cemetery in Vincennes.
Friends may call at St. Peter Catholic Church in Linton on Sunday from 3 to 8 p.m., the St. John's Catholic Church in Vincennes on Monday from 3 to 8 p.m. where scripture service will be held at 7 p.m., and Tuesday at St. John's from 10 a.m. until the time of service.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Peter Thrift Shop & Food Pantry or to St. Peter Catholic Church, through the funeral home.
Welch & Cornett Funeral Home in Linton is in charge of arrangements.
Online condolences can be made at www.welchcornett.com