Father Joseph Grassl, at the age of 95 and a priest for 67 years, died Thursday January 18, 2018 in La Crosse.
Joseph Alfred Grassl was born on March 16, 1922 in Milladore, Wisconsin to Ignatius and Theresa (nee Hoffman) Grassl. He attended high school at Salvatorian Seminary in Saint Nazianz, Wisconsin. He was sent to study philosophy at St. Louis Preparatory Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri and he completed a S.T.B. in theology at Saint Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. Father Grassl was ordained a priest on April 16, 1950 at Saint Joseph Cathedral in La Crosse by Bishop John P. Treacy.
Father Grassl’s first assignment was as temporary administrator for about six weeks at Saint Joseph Parish in Menomonie. He was assigned to teaching at Holy Cross Seminary when it was the castle mansion at 1419 Cass Street in La Crosse. In August of 1950 he served for a short time at St. Anthony Parish in Cazenovia as a temporary assistant. He soon returned to the teaching staff of Holy Cross Seminary and moved to the new Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse that was dedicated in 1951. There he served for years as an instructor of Latin, Greek, and German while being the librarian. During the summers of the 1950’s he was sent to Rosary College in River Forest, Illinois, Loras College in Dubuque and the University of Michigan to post graduate studies for Library Science and Latin. In June of 1963 Father Grassl became the Dean of Studies and a Spiritual Director of the seminary college. In 1966 and then again in 1985 he was appointed the Diocesan College of Consultors.
In June of 1967, Father Grassl was assigned as the administrator of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (St. Mary’s) Parish in Richland Center and Sacred Heart Parish in Lone Rock. In August of 1970 he was assigned as temporary administrator of St. Mathew Parish in Wausau. The following February he was assigned temporary administrator of St. Patrick Parish in Elroy and then in June he was assigned temporary administrator at St. Joseph Parish in Kendall. In April of 1972 he was named pastor at St. Patrick Parish in Elroy and in September 1978 he was also the administrator of St. John the Baptist in Wilton. Fr. Grassl was appointed pastor of St. Joseph in Stratford April 1980 and in August of that year, he became the Dean of the Marshfield Deanery for nearly ten years. In September of 1987, while remaining the pastor of St. Joseph Parish, he also became the pastor of St. Andrew in Rozell ville. On May 29, 1990 he was appointed to his last pastorate at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Knowlton and St. John the Baptist Parish in Pepi in where he served until he was granted senior priest status at the age of 90. Father Grassl spent his five and half years of retirement living at Holy Cross (Seminary) Diocesan Center and two care facilities in the La Crosse area.
Father Grassl was preceded in death by his parents, also four sisters and eight brothers: Marie, Jgnatz, Peter, Anna, Max, Anton, Theresa, Father Francis (Diocese of La Crosse), Edward, Ludwig, Margaret, and Herbert. He is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at Christ the King Chapel in Holy Cross Diocesan Center in La Crosse on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 11 :00 a.m. Visitation will be held at Christ the King Chapel one hour prior to the Mass. Very Reverend William A. Dhein, VG will be the main celebrant. Monsignor Delbert J. Malin will be the homilist. A luncheon will follow at the refectory of Holy Cross Diocesan Center.
On Thursday, January 25, there will be a prayer service at 12:30 p.m. at St. Kilian Church in Blenker. Refreshments will be served following his burial at St. Kilian’s Cemetery.
The Diocese of La Crosse and the family are being assisted by Dickinson Funeral Home, 515 McHugh Road in Holmen.