Wisconsin Rapids Deanery

of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin

Father Donald F. Wilger

Fr. Donald F. WilgerFather Donald F. Wilger, at the age of 76 and a priest for 51 years, died on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina.

Father Wilger was born on December 18, 1931 in Athens, Wisconsin to Joseph and Cecilia (née Schiepek) Wilger.  He attended Saint Mary’s Elementary School in Marathon, Wisconsin, Salvatorian Seminary in St. Nazianz, Wisconsin, Saint Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He was ordained on May 18, 1957 at Christ the King Chapel at Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse, by the Most Reverend John P. Treacy.

Father Wilger’s first assignment was as Assistant Pastor of Saint John the Baptist Parish at Marshfield.  On September 2, 1959 he was assigned to be a part-time instructor at Columbus High School, while continuing in his assignment at Saint John the Baptist Parish.  In 1962 he was assigned as a full-time instructor at Aquinas High School with residence at Saint Wenceslaus Rectory, both in La Crosse.  On June 30, 1964 Father Wilger was appointed as Assistant Pastor of Saint Thomas More Parish at La Crosse.  In 1966 he was then assigned as Assistant Pastor of Saint Stephen Parish in Stevens Point and in 1967 he was assigned as Assistant Pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Wisconsin Rapids. Father Wilger was then appointed as Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish at Jim Falls in 1968.  On April 5, 1972, he was assigned as Pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Nekoosa.  He was then assigned to Saint John the Baptist Parish at Marshfield as Associate Pastor from 1980 to 1982, then as Pastor from 1982 to 1986.  Father Wilger was assigned as Pastor of Saint Joseph Parish in Galloway in 1986 and in 1987, he was also appointed Pastor of Saint John the Baptist Parish at Peplin.  On January 3, 1989 he was assigned as Chaplain at Saint Joseph Hospital at Marshfield, where he served until he was granted the status of Senior Priest of the Diocese of La Crosse on December 3, 2001. Father Wilger had been residing in South Carolina during his retirement and assisting at parishes in the Diocese of Charleston.

Father Wilger is survived by his brothers and sisters, Earl Wilger of Mesa, Arizona; Ambrose (Geraldine) Wilger of Cedarburg; Thomas (Carol) Wilger of Green Bay; James (Mary) Wilger of Wausau; Dolores (Merlin) Baur of Mosinee; Marilyn (Alex) Brezezinski of Indianapolis, Indiana, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Father Wilger was preceded in death by his parents, one brother Raymond Wilger, and one sister Helen Wilger.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 28, 2008 at Saint John the Baptist Church in Marshfield.  Bishop Jerome E. Listecki will be the main celebrant.  Father Robert Wagner  will be the homilist.  Burial will follow in Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Marshfield. A luncheon will be served at the Knights of Columbus Hall (east of the cemetery on Upham Street). 

Visitation will be held at Saint John the Baptist Church in Marshfield on Sunday, July 27 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with a Rosary Service followed by Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead at 6:30 p.m.  There will also be visitation from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Monday, July 28.

The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by the Rembs Funeral Home in Marshfield.

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