Father Karl Ganss Dies Feb. 1 in Rockford
February 11, 2021
ROCKFORD—Father Karl P. Ganss died Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, at his home in Rockford. 
Father Ganss was born on April 19, 1942, in Philadelphia, Penn., to Karl and Philomena Gekle Ganss. 
He attended Sacred Heart Seminary, Geneva (1960-1964), and Sacred Heart Seminary, Shelby, Ohio (1964-1968), where he studied philosophy and theology. He received a master’s degree in history from DePaul University, Chicago,  (1969-1971), and a Ph.D. in education from Loyola University in Chicago (1971-1979). He also received a doctorate in ministry from St. Mary University in Baltimore, Md. (1983-1984). 
He was ordained a priest for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart by the Most Reverend Joseph McShea in Nazareth, Penn., on Sept. 21, 1968. As a Missionary of the Sacred Heart, he served in various parishes as weekend help in the Rockford Diocese until he was incardinated into the diocese as a diocesan priest. 
Father Ganss’s first diocesan assignment was in 1972 as religious education coordinator for the McHenry Deanery (1972-1977). He then was assigned as superintendent of Catholic education for the McHenry Deanery (1977-1982).
He was parochial vicar at Holy Angels Parish, Aurora (1982-1983). He then served as administrator at St. Patrick Parish, Hartland (1983-1984). 
He was assigned as diocesan director of Parish Renewal Programs (1983-1986). 
In 1984, Father Ganss was assigned as pastor at St. Mary Parish, Durand, as well as St. Patrick Parish, Irish Grove (1984-1995). He was later appointed as diocesan director of Evangelization (1986-1989), an assignment that brought him much pride. 
He also served as chaplain for the Knights of Columbus Father Reedy Council 4941. He then served as vicar for Spiritual Formation (1989-2000).
He was later assigned pastor at St. Mary Parish, DeKalb (1995-2003), then assigned pastor at St. Gall Parish, Elburn (2003-2012) and retired there from active ministry on June 29, 2012. He later served as administrator at St. Gall Parish (2015-2016). 
During his retirement Father Ganss assisted in various local parishes and continued his service with the Apostleship of the Sea. 
Father Ganss is predeceased by his parents, Karl and Philomena; and his sister Phyllis Van Zyl. 
He is survived by his sister Charlotte McClain; his cousin Micheline Morgan; and several nieces and nephews. 
The funeral Mass was Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Gall Church in Elburn. A walkthrough visitation preceded the Mass at the church. Burial was at St. Gall Cemetery, Elburn. 
Memorial donations can be made to Catholic Charities. All donations will go directly to Father Ganss’ foundation, The Karl and Philomena Ganss Immigration and Refugee Support Fund. 
The Mass was livestreamed on the St. Gall Parish Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stgallelburn.
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