Deacon Clay Wildenberg, 74, dies

By | March 6, 2013

Msgr. John Schuh and Deacon Wildenberg grew up together. “We met in a berry patch, picking berries,” said Msgr. Schuh. “He was from Combined Locks and I was from Kimberly.”

It was Msgr. Schuh who encouraged Deacon Wildenberg to consider the diaconate because “he really had the heart” for the church.

“He was a very kind man, always ready to help anyone who needed him,” added Msgr. Schuh. “We were good friends.”

Following studies at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee, Deacon Wildenberg was ordained to the diaconate on Sept. 13, 1986, at St. Agnes Church in Green Bay. He served as a deacon at St. Thomas More, Appleton, and St. Ann, St. Anna, prior to his appointment at what is known as the Four Parish Catholic Family.

Sacred Heart Fr. Patrick Lloyd first met Deacon Wildenberg three years ago when he was appointed pastor in Tigerton, Marion, Leopolis and Wittenberg.

“In that time, he has not been in the best of health, but he was a very kind and gentle man,” said Fr. Lloyd. “He loved his people, loved his church and ministered any way he was able.”

He added that even though St. Mary, Leopolis, was Deacon Wildenberg’s parish, he would assist as deacon at Masses at the other three churches.

“He was very sensitive to the needs of individuals,” said Fr. Lloyd. “Conducting wake services and visiting nursing homes were important ministries to him. He was also a person who one could easily approach.”

Deacon Wildenberg, who resided in Gresham, was active as a diocesan marriage tribunal field advocate, as a member of the Deacon Formation board and with the Clinical Pastoral Education Practicum at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Walter and Eileen (Milton), and a sister-in-law, Susie Wildenberg.

He is survived by his wife of more than 48 years, Carol (Siebers); his three sons, Alan (Shari), Craig (Amy) and Todd (Laura); seven grandchildren, Cale, Troy, Case, Cash, Cadence, Ashley and Derek; a sister, Donna (Bob) Lopas; and two brothers, Jay and Jim (Maggie).

The funeral Mass was celebrated March 1 at St. Mary Church in Leopolis. Bishop Robert Morneau officiated.

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