May They Rest in Peace: Fr. Ramon 'Ray' Dompke, C.Ss.R.

Fr. Ramon “Ray” Dompke, C.Ss.R., died unexpectedly on Jan. 7, 2024 at the rectory of St. Michael Church in Old Town, Chicago – where he was baptized exactly 85 years ago, on Jan. 8, 1939. A generous Redemptorist with a ready smile and a loving spirit, Fr. Ray was as dedicated to serving his confreres in community as he was to all of those he encountered in more than 50 years of parish ministry throughout the Midwest.

Roman and Marie Dompke welcomed Ramon Richard to their family on Dec. 18, 1938. He grew up around the Redemptorists at St. Michael’s in Old Town, and was thrilled to be an altar server as a fifth-grader at St. Michael’s Elementary School. He attended St. Joseph’s Preparatory Seminary in Kirkwood, Mo., where he established lifelong friendships with his classmates. He proceeded to novitiate at Mount St. Clement’s in DeSoto, Mo., and professed temporary vows on August 2, 1959. After completing theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Oconomowoc, WI, he professed perpetual vows on September 2, 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood by Auxiliary Bishop Roman Atkielski, DD, of Milwaukee on July 2, 1964.

Fr. Ramon “Ray” Dompke, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Ramon “Ray” Dompke, C.Ss.R.

Newly ordained Fr. Ray completed advanced courses in Religious Education during Tirocinium at St. Alphonsus “Rock” Parish in St. Louis, MO, establishing a strong foundation for his five decades of parish ministry. Fr. Ray served as associate pastor of seven parishes during the next 29 years: St. Alphonsus Parish in Davenport, IA (1966-1973); Holy Name Parish in Omaha, NE (1973-1977); St. Alphonsus “Rock” Parish (1977-1978); Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit, MI (1978-1981); St. Alphonsus Parish in Davenport (1981-1982); St. Michael Parish in Chicago (1982-1993); and St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago (1993-1995).

Fr. Ray was appointed pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish on the West Side of Chicago in 1995. He was sincerely dedicated to serving the poor, and was well known in his home town after more than a decade of ministry. Wealthier parishes in the area responded to his requests for financial assistance, food donations, and even Christmas presents for the little ones. He was a beloved pastor who animated the parish community for an entire decade before the parish was closed in 2005.

Fr. Ray was appointed bursar of the Villa Redeemer/North American Novitiate community in Glenview, IL in 2005. In addition to managing the finances, he made significant improvements to enhance the property and ensured that his fellow confreres had the equipment necessary to maintain the extensive grounds. He served as rector of the community from 2011 until 2015, when the property was sold.

Fr. Ray was grateful to return to the staff at St. Michael’s, where he served for the next eight years. He felt blessed to be near his family, especially his elderly mother, whom he visited every week until she died at the age of 105 in 2019. In addition to serving the parish community, he volunteered to preach Foreign Mission appeals throughout the Midwest until his health began to decline. Although he had to step away from active ministry, he continued to participate fully in community life and serve his Redemptorist brothers with many small acts of kindness.

Obituaries for clergy and religious who have lived or served in the Archdiocese of Detroit may be emailed to [email protected]. Obituaries are printed as they are submitted, but may be edited for grammar and style. Detroit Catholic reserves the right to refuse or edit any submissions.


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