Deacon Semlak remembered for faith, gentle spirit

| December 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Deacon Thomas Semlak will be remembered as a deeply faith-filled man with a gentle spirit.

His ministry surrounding the sacraments — preparing couples for marriage and to have their children baptized, both of which he did with his wife, Marge, was how he most often served.

Deacon Semlak, 75, died Dec. 8.

Deacon Semlak

Deacon Semlak

A native of St. Paul’s eastside, he was raised in St. Casimir Parish and worked for two iconic St. Paul firms, Brown & Bigelow and 3M.

Initially rejected for the diaconate program because he and Marge had a young family, he reapplied once the four children were adults. He was ordained a permanent deacon in 1994.

He was able to take early retirement to serve as a deacon, first at St. Thomas the Apostle on Stillwater Road in St. Paul (now Blessed Sacrament Parish), which he and his wife joined after they married.

He later served at St. Casimir, and then, for the past 15 years, at St. Pius X in White Bear Lake.

“He and Marge were such a great pair,” recalled Shawn Gutowski, St. Pius X faith formation director.

“He loved his ministry,” added Jeannie Schommer, who as the longtime receptionist at St. Pius X knew Deacon Semlak well.

“He was a wonderful father and grandfather, too, and always willing to help others,” Schommer said. “He was an awesome guy and he’ll be deeply missed.”

He is survived by Marge, his wife of more than 51 years; daughters, Cori (Kevin) Schuyler Terri (Mark) Meis; sons Jim (Lisa Beth) and Craig (Lisa Marie), and 11 grandchildren.

A funeral Mass was offered Dec. 14 at St. Pius X, with interment in Resurrection Cemetery in Mendota Heights.

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