Father Charles J. Hiebl, at the age of 85 and a priest for 59 years, died Saturday, October 2, 2021 in Colby, Wisconsin.
Charles Joseph Hiebl was born September 27, 1936 in Milan, Wisconsin, the son of George J. and Anna (née Krupka) Hiebl. He attended Milan Rural School and his freshman year of high school seminary in “the castle” at 1419 Cass Street in La Crosse. He then completed his high school and college studies at the brand new Holy Cross Seminary in La Crosse. He continued his priestly formation and earned a Master of Arts degree in theological studies at Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. On May 19, 1962, he was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of St. Joseph the Workman in La Crosse by the Most Reverend John P. Treacy. The new Cathedral had only been dedicated five days earlier.
Father Hiebl’s first assignment was as an Assistant at St. Joseph Parish in Stevens Point. Two years later he was assigned as a full time teacher at Pacelli High School residing with the Christian Brothers in Stevens Point. He wore many hats as the area coordinator of religious education teacher training and area coordinator of adult Christian education, the Chaplain of the Portage County Home and weekend assistant at St. Peter Parish in Stevens Point. In the years that followed, he also became the Chaplain of the Serra Club and the area Boy Scout Chaplain in Stevens Point. Father Hiebl spent the summer of 1968 studying theology at the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. He was assigned as an Instructor of Religion at Assumption High School in Wisconsin Rapids from 1970-1979. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was the Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Altdorf and Administrator of All Saint Parish in Babcock. In 1978 he was elected as the Associate Dean of the Marshfield Deanery and was noted for his efforts to foster unity and reduce parish debt.
From 1979-1983, he was assigned as an Associate Pastor at St. Bronislava Parish in Plover. From 1982-1985, he was the Dean of the Stevens Point Deanery and became the Pastor of St. Bronislava Parish in 1983. Father Hiebl was assigned as the Pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Eau Claire in 1985. During his time at St. Patrick Parish he became known for his attention to the sick and dying. From 1987-1993, he served as the Dean of the Eau Claire Deanery. In 1991, 1997, and 2000, he was elected to the Presbyteral Council for three-year terms. In 1996, he became the Pastor of the newly founded St. Maxmillian Kolbe Parish in Southeastern Portage County with his residence at the rectory in Lanark. This new parish was the merger of Holy Guardian Angels Parish in Almond, St. Martin Parish in Buena Vista, St. John the Baptist Parish in Heffron, and St. Patrick Parish in Lanark. Father Hiebl was tasked with leading the parishioners toward the work of acquiring property in a suitable location for a new parish church. The new church would not be completed until 2004. In 2000, he became the Pastor of St. Anthony de Padua Parish in Athens and Holy Family Parish in Poniatowski. In 2002, he was also made the Pastor of his home parish of St. Thomas in Milan. He became the Dean of the Wausau Deanery for a three-year term in 2008. In 2011, he resigned as Pastor of Holy Family Parish in Poniatowski while retaining his care of souls at Athens and Milan. In 2013, he was granted the status of a Senior Priest. He continued to help out extensively in Clark and Marathon counties with residence at St. Bernard Rectory in Abbotsford. He later moved to The Waterford a senior living facility in Colby.
Father Hiebl was preceded in death by his parents, one sister Delores and two brothers, Lawrence and Joseph.
He is survived by two brothers Anthony (Marlene) and James (Elaine), two sisters Agnes (Glen) Paul and Mary (Lauder Finken), nieces, nephews and other relatives.
On Saturday, October 9, the Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. at St. Anthony de Padua Church in Athens, Wisconsin. The Most Reverend William Patrick Callahan will be the main celebrant and Very Reverend Brian D. Konopa will be the homilist. Burial will follow at St. Thomas Cemetery in Milan.
Visitation will be held at St. Anthony de Padua Church in Athens on Friday, October 8, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with Evening Prayer from the Office of the Dead at 7:45 p.m., led by Monsignor Mark R. Pierce. Visitation will also be held Friday, October 9 from 9:00 to 10:45 a.m.
Peterson-Kraemer Funeral Home in Athens is assisting with arrangements.