The Compass: Official Newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay
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September 7, 2001 Issue
Local News

Naval chaplain from Green Bay Diocese dies

Fr. Eugene Flatley traveled around the world several times in 22 years in Navy

Fr. Eugene Flatley, a priest of the Green Bay Diocese who served as a Navy chaplain for 22 years, died Aug. 11 at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. He was 79.

Fr. Flatley was a compassionate person, who loved the priesthood, enjoyed people and made friends easily, said one of his sisters, Margaret Dobias.

"We all remember his laughter, his gentleness, his goodness and his great ability to listen - and coming from a large Irish family, that ability to listen was in short supply with most of us," said another sister, Alice Comerford.

She said he joined the Navy partly because he loved to travel and that he went around the world a few times, including his first assignment in a destroyer fleet where he was transferred from ship-to-ship by cable.

Later, he served on aircraft carriers in Europe, Korea, Japan and Vietnam, ministering to thousands of military personnel and their families.

Fr. Flatley, a native of Stockbridge, was born March 21, 1922, to Andrew and Margaret (Heffernan) Flatley.

After graduating from Mount Calvary Minor Seminary and St. Paul Major Seminary, he was ordained June 15, 1946, by Bp. Stanislaus Bona in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay.

He served as assistant pastor at Annunciation Parish, Green Bay, until he was assigned as an assistant pastor at St. Anthony Parish, Niagara, in 1949.

He entered the U.S. Navy as chaplain on Dec. 28, 1953. He was granted permission to apply for a chaplain's commission in the Regular Navy on Sept. 26, 1956, where he served until his retirement June 30, 1976, earning the rank of commander. He lived in Oceanside, Calif.

He is survived by brothers John (Anna), Baltimore; Bernard (Peg), Whitefish Bay; Jim (Suzanne) St. Petersburg, Fla.; sisters Margaret (Paul) Dobias, Sheboygan; Alice (Gordon) Comerford, Barrington, Ill.

The funeral Mass for Fr. Flatley was Aug. 24 in the Mission of San Luis Rey, Calif. Burial was at Oceanside, Calif.

Bp. Robert Banks presided Aug. 29 at a Memorial Mass for Fr. Flately in St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay. Fr. Richard Shafer, a classmate, preached the homily.

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