Rev. Francis J. Harbauer, CSV, died Aug. 17, 1952 at Belmont Hospital in Chicago from complications after gallbladder surgery. At the time, he was pastor of St. Viator Church in Chicago and a member of the Provincial Council, consequently, his untimely death came as a shock to all who knew him. He was 49.

Fr. Harbauer was born March 7, 1903 in Springfield, IL, and he received his early education was at SS. Peter and Paul School in Springfield.  In January of 1921, he entered the Juniorate at St. Viator Academy in Bourbonnais, IL, and it was here that he was first introduced to the Viatorian Community.

In 1927, he earned his undergraduate degree from St. Viator College in Bourbonnais, IL and in 1932 he went on to receive his master’s degree in art from Catholic University of America in Washington DC.

Fr. Harbauer entered the Viatorian Community in 1922 and pronounced his first vows on August 15, 1923.  He was ordained a priest on February 21, 1932 at St. Joseph Church in Springfield.

Fr. Harbauer’s first appointment was from 1932 to 1938 at St. Viator College, where he was professor of German and served as athletic director. Described as a genius at sports promotion, he was said to have done more than any other administrator to put St. Viator’s name into the sports limelight.

After the school’s closing, he became assistant pastor at St. Patrick Church in Kankakee, IL from 1938-1941 and then principal of Cathedral Boys’ High School in his hometown of Springfield from 1942 to 1948. On Aug. 1, 1948, he was named pastor of St. Viator Church, where he served a mere four years until his death.

Funeral services were held Aug. 21 at St. Viator Church with Cardinal Samuel Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, presiding. The solemn requiem Mass was celebrated by the Rev. John T. Ryan, CSV, assistant provincial of the Viatorians. The great number present for the funeral served as a testament to the quality of his priestly ministry, for even in death, the charm and vigor of his friendship was felt.

He was laid to rest in the Viatorian Community plot at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, IL.


Taken from an obituary published in The New World, Chicago’s Catholic newspaper, dated August 22, 1952 and the 1952 Annuaire, a publication of the Viatorian General Direction