Monsignor Joseph R. Huebsch, 99, was friend to many


Monsignor Joseph R. Huebsch

Monsignor Joseph R. Huebsch, 99, passed away March 24, at St. Gerard’s Community of Care in Hankinson. He died on the 99th anniversary of his baptism into Christ.

Monsignor Huebsch was the fourth of nine children born to Clement and Mary (Ernesti) Huebsch, at the home farm in rural Lake Lillian, Minn., March 19, 1918. He was ordained by Bishop Leo F. Dworschak at St. John’s Church, Wahpeton, on June 3, 1950.

Father Huebsch began and ended his years of pastoral service at St. Philip’s Church in Hankinson, first as assistant to Father Gerard Bierens from 1950-56, then as pastor from 1983-91. Between those assignments he served as pastor at St. Lawrence Church, Jessie and Sacred Heart Church, Aneta, 1956-67; St. Henry’s Church, Alice and St. Henry’s Church, Leonard, 1967-72; St. Patrick’s Church, Enderlin, St. Henry’s Church, Alice and St. Mary’s Church, Sheldon, 1972-75; St. Anthony’s Church, Fargo, 1975-78; St. Paul’s Church, Tappen, St. Francis de Sales Church, Steele and Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Williams, 1978-83.

Monsignor Huebsch requested retirement in 1991 at the age of 82 and after over 40 years of active ministry. With Bishop James Sullivan’s permission, “Father Joe” began his years of “active retirement.” Between 1991 and 2016, Monsignor Huebsch helped out in many parishes, was the confessor for the Sisters at the Carmelite Monastery, Wahpeton, was Chaplain of St. Francis Convent, Hankinson, 1992-2002, and Chaplain of St. Gerard’s Community of Care, Hankinson from 2002-16.

During his Chaplaincy years, he was devoted to the ill, injured and elderly, making rounds to cheer the homebound, bless the troubled and assist the dying. On April 29, 2015, he received the North Dakota Long Term Care Association’s Adult Volunteer of the Year Award at their spring conference in Bismarck.

The greatest joy of his life was offering Holy Mass, and with care and attention, he fulfilled the prayerful duties of the ordained in the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours each day. He was very devoted to the Blessed Mother, even building a shrine in her honor at the home farm in 1938. It still stands today, strong as ever.

Outgoing and friendly, Monsignor Huebsch, was a familiar visitor to any new projects taking place around town. He took an interest in people and was a friend to many. With his farmer’s heart, he loved driving out to the countryside to check the fields, and was a welcome guest at the kitchen tables of many friends. Fearless in his expectation to serve Christ along the way, he was known to open his door to a stranger’s knock at night, pick up hitchhikers, and even to risk harm to help another in need.

Monsignor Huebsch is survived by his sister, Edna Athmann Rudeen, Bird Island, Minn., sister-in-law, Doris Huebsch, Lake Lillian, Minn., and many nieces and nephews and their families. He was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings: Marie Olson, Ben Huebsch, Vernon Huebsch, Dorothy Wittman, Gerry Bomsta, Jerome Huebsch, Elaine Reitsma; and in-laws: Jeanette Huebsch, Porkie Athmann, Ted Olson, Art Wittman, Bud Reitsma and Dale Rudeen.

The funeral Mass was at St. Philip’s Church in Hankinson on March 29.