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Father Leonard Forsmann dies Jan. 20; 57 years old

by Father Mark Pautler, for the Inland Register

(From the Feb. 8, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Leonard Forsmann (IR file photo)

Father Len Forsmann, pastor of St. Thomas More Parish in north Spokane, died Jan. 20, 2007. He had been hospitalized for several weeks suffering from viral encephalitis and several medical complications.

St. Thomas More School gathered for a memorial Mass for Father Forsmann on Jan. 25. The vigil was prayed for him at St. Thomas More Church the evening of Jan. 26, where his funeral Mass was celebrated the next morning.

Father Forsmann was born on May 28, 1949 in Orofino, Idaho, oldest of the three children of Vern and Rose Ann Forsmann. His siblings are Stanley and Joyce (Eason).

Rose Ann died in 1953, and Vern married Mrs. Izola Fields on July 12, 1959, forming a blended family with her three daughters: Darlene (Larson), Lola (Bartholomew) and Cheryl (Petkavich). Their daughter, Lynda (Brown), completed the family.

Len grew up in Clarkston, Wash., where he attended Holy Family School, and spent summers at the ranch of his uncle, Tony Koepl, in Nez Perce, Idaho.

In 1963 Len entered the priestly formation program for the Diocese of Spokane and was graduated from Gonzaga University in 1971.  (Fr. Forsmann graduated from Mater Cleri Seminary in 1967.  KH)

From 1971-1975 he completed theological and pastoral formation at the University of Louvain in Belgium. On Jan. 3, 1976, he was ordained a priest at his hometown parish, Holy Family in Clarkston, by Bishop Bernard Topel.

Father Forsmann served as parochial vicar (assistant pastor) at St. Patrick Parish, Pasco (1976-78) and Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane (1978-1980), and then returned to Pasco as parochial vicar. He served that parish as pastor from 1985-1991, and from 1991-2005 was pastor of Holy Family Parish in Clarkston. During part of his tenure he also served Holy Rosary Parish in Pomeroy.

He was appointed pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, on July 1, 2005.

Father Forsmann was endowed with many talents as a pastor, administrator and teacher. He was comfortable and competent preaching from the lectern or working at his wood lathe, where he fashioned sacred vessels and other projects. Several deacons spent their year of pastoral internship under his guidance.

Father Forsmann was highly regarded by his fellow priests, who elected him to the Council of Priests for numerous terms, and as chair of the Council. He also served as the regional delegate to the convention of the National Federation of Priestsí Councils.

During the Chapter 11 process of the Spokane Diocese, he served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Parishes.

We give thanks to God for the life and ministry of our friend and brother, Len.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Catholic Foundation, Priestsí Retirement Endowment, P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210.

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