Father Robert S. Hegenbarth, at the age of 90 and a priest for 64 years, died June 16, 2020 at his home in rural Sparta.
Robert Hegenbarth was born February 26, 1930 in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the son of Edward G. and Evelyn H. (Theile) Hegenbarth. He was a student at Holy Trinity Elementary and Blessed Sacrament Elementary schools in La Crosse. He became a seminarian and attended St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin. He continued his priestly formation and studied philosophy and theology at St. John’s Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota. Bishop John P. Treacy ordained him a priest on May 19, 1956 at Holy Cross Seminary Chapel in La Crosse.
Father Hegenbarth’s first assignment was as an Assistant at Our Lady of Peace Parish and part-time instructor at Columbus High School in Marshfield. In 1959, Father Hegenbarth was appointed an Assistant at St. Olaf Parish in Eau Claire. Two years later, he was appointed an Assistant at St. Patrick Parish in Sparta. In 1967, he was appointed an Assistant at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Wisconsin Rapids where he remained for two years before being appointed the Pastor of the churches of Holy Guardian Angels in Almond, St. John the Baptist in Heffron, and St. Martin in Buena Vista.
In February 1976, Fr. Hegenbarth was appointed Pastor of St. Alexander Parish in Port Edwards and five years later was also appointed the Administrator of All Saints Parish in Babcock. In March 1994, Father Hegenbarth was appointed Pastor of St. Leo the Great Parish in West Salem until he was granted senior priest status on July 1, 2014.
Father Hegenbarth was preceded in death by his parents, his brother Clarence, niece Karen Williams, and nephew, Timmy Kammel. Survivors include his siblings, Marie (Herb) Meyers, Darlene (Reiny) Kammel, and Jerry Hegenbarth (Lorraine Miller), his sister-in-law Dorothy Hegenbarth, and many nieces and nephews.
On Friday, June 19, 2020 a rosary will be prayed at 3:45 p.m. at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home in Sparta, followed by a visitation until 7 p.m. Then, at 7 p.m. Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead will be prayed.