Nearly every month, caricatures appear on a video screen at the Viatorian Province Center, drawn by Fr. Robert Bolser, CSV. They are whimsical and funny and never fail to draw a smile from viewers.

Fr. Bob and his warm sense of humor are being remembered this week, on the fifth anniversary of his death. He left a mark on all of the places where he ministered during his more than 50 years as a Viatorian. The first half of his ministry was spent in high schools, including at Griffin High School in Springfield, Colegio San Viator in Bogotá, Alleman High School in Rock Island and Saint Viator High School, where he was in Campus Ministry from 1983 to 1989.

The second half of his ministry was spent in parishes, serving as Parochial Vicar at St. Viator Parish in Chicago and finally at St. Thomas More Catholic Community in Henderson, Nevada.

Consequently, it was a bittersweet farewell in January, 2016, when Fr. Bob left St. Thomas More to return to the Viatorian Province Center in Arlington Heights.Robert Bolser

He had served as a popular associate pastor at the suburban Las Vegas parish that included more than 6,000 families. With his proficiency in Spanish — honed during his years teaching at Colegio San Viator in Bogotá — and upbeat approach to ministry he became a beloved member of the pastoral staff.

Still, returning to live in retirement with his confreres had its perks. For starters, Fr. Bob was reunited with his brother, Fr. Charles Bolser, CSV, who had moved back one month earlier. The two have not lived in the same residence for more than 50 years, when they were in formation and attending Loyola University.

Bob Bolser, foreground, with his brother, Charles Bolser, during formation in the 1960s

Bob Bolser, foreground, with his brother, Charles Bolser, during formation in the 1960s

At the time, Fr. Bob described his transition as going well. He could be seen walking the hallways — from one end of the building to the other — to get his exercise, and he eagerly searched out art supplies, to take up his hobby of drawing and painting.

However, as his health declined he wanted to return to the warmth and sun in Las Vegas, where he passed away on April 28, 2019.

“Each of my assignments in ministry has been a gift,” Fr. Bob said on the 50th anniversary of religious life, “that has helped me grow in faith.”