Fr. Benjamin John Werner
August 14, 1936 – December 25, 2018
Rev. Benjamin John Werner, 82, of DeWitt Michigan, died Tuesday, Christmas Day, December 25th 2018 at his DeWitt residence.
Rev. Benjamin John Werner lived life well for God and others. Fr. Ben’s theme for his priesthood might very well be quoted from the Book of Numbers Chapter 6: “May the Lord bless you and keep you! May the Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! And may the Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace!” Those that knew him as priest and spiritual father were privileged to receive this blessing from Fr. Ben, perhaps many times over the years. This blessing informed Fr. Ben’s priesthood with faith and trust in God's loving care and instilled a sense of humility and willingness to do God's will. Fr. Ben was born to G. Benjamin Werner and Marjorie Frieh Werner on Aug 14, 1936 in Hamburg, New York.
Fr. Ben graduated from Hamburg High School in 1954. He attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York; St. Bernard Seminary in Rochester, New York; and St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora, New York. He was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Buffalo February 22, 1964. His first assignment was in Buffalo where he spoke fondly of his weekly meetings with his pastor, Msgr. Nalen. He served in his second and third assignment for the Diocese of Savannah Georgia. For his fourth assignment he was incardinated into the Diocese of Lansing where he spent the remainder of his life. He was called to serve as chaplain at both the University of Michigan and Veterans Hospital in Ann Arbor, where he comforted the sick and their families for more than 25 years. Upon retirement, he relocated to the Senior Priest Residences in DeWitt where he resided until his death.
Preceding him in death were his parents, G. Benjamin and Marjorie Werner and his brother George, and sister-in-law, Mary Werner.
Surviving are his sister, Joanne Werner McCartin of East Amherst, NY; Four nephews and their spouses, all children of his deceased brother George: Michael (Louise) Werner residing in Huntington Beach, California; John (Angela) Werner residing in Federal Way, Washington; Tom (Suzanne) Werner residing in Los Altos, California and George (Alison) Werner, Jr. residing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Also surviving are grandnieces and grandnephews, and great-grandnephews.
Fr Ben frequently reminisced on his youth growing up in Hamburg, New York. He took after his dad and uncle as a “fast car affectionato”. And he was passionate and competitive in sports, especially basketball, football and baseball. Speaking of his active sports life, his best childhood friend and “sports competitor” was David Rochna.
Throughout his life, Fr. Ben was always very grateful to his sister, his nephews, parishioners and friends for their love, support and trust. To God belongs praise, honor, and glory for all eternity. Visitors will be received from 4pm until 8pm on Friday, December 28th at the Catholic Community of St. Jude, with a service at 7:00 p.m.
Mass of the Resurrection will be held on Saturday, December 29th at 11:00 am at the Catholic Community of St Jude Parish in DeWitt. Father Tom Thompson will officiate. The family will receive friends one hour prior to the Mass.
Interment will follow at a later date in New York.
- Visitation Friday, December 28, 2018
- Visitation Saturday, December 29, 2018
- Funeral Mass Saturday, December 29, 2018
Fr. Benjamin John Werner
February 2, 2019
You taught me about seeing things from a different perspective often leads to success where you have failed time and time again. I was a little guy on the football field at St. John Vianney and could not defend my quarterback until he thought me to use a body block to stop him a lineman 4 times my size at the time. That lesson kept me moving forward for the rest of my life in the face of defeat to succeed where I should have failed. One of the most important traits I brought with me from my Seminary training to the US Coast Guard where I served for over 40 years going from an E1 to an O6 when I retired in 2010 as Captain of the Port of New York. He was a humble man who focused on making us become better people than we would have been without him.
Thank You Fr. Werner I will always think of you when times are tough and I want to just quit but don’t because you showed me another way.
Rick & Deb Daly
December 29, 2018
Fr. Ben endeared himself to the parishioners of St. Mary parish in Williamston where he would occasionally "cover" for his friend and our pastor, Fr. Tom Thompson on his rare days off. His reverence, together with his sense of humor undoubtedly served him, the hospital patients he ministered to and their families very well. On a lighter note, I know that those who were at the St. Mary / K of C "Ed Sullivan" shows a few years ago will never forget Fr. Ben's performances! May God bless you and keep you, Father.
Fr. Mike Petroski
December 26, 2018
A perennial favorite at the Priests' Convocation, Fr. Ben would share his sharp wit and wisdom, and have the brothers laughing to the point of tears and rolling off their seats. Like no one else I ever knew. A truly joy-filled priest.
God rest you, Merry Gentle Man.
Marce & Liz Gliha
December 26, 2018
Rest in Peace, Fr. Ben. Thank you for sharing yourself with us in the Retrouvaille Ministry. We served the couples with you in both Cleveland and Grand Rapids and witnessed your love for God and His people. You have earned your heavenly reward.