Rev. Joseph L Obersinner S.J.

August 6, 1928March 1, 2018

REV. JOSEPH L. OBERSINNER, S.J. Rev. Joseph L. Obersinner, S.J., passed away the morning of March 1, 2018 at the Sacred Hear Jesuit Center, Los Gatos, CA. An avid outdoorsman with a gentle soul, Fr. Joe spent most of his life serving the spiritual and educational needs of Native Americans in Alaska and the Inland Northwest. One of three sons, Joseph Leroy Obersinner was born on August 6, 1918, to Joseph and Freda (Schultalber) Obersinner in Mt. Angel, OR. Joe entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, OR, on September 5, 1945, and did the regular order of studies. His life-long ministry among Native Americans began in Alaska when he taught at Holy Cross School on the Yukon River (1952-54). He attended Alma College for his theology studies and was ordained a priest on June 15, 1957. Following his formal Jesuit training, Fr. Obersinner spent twelve years at St. Marys Mission, Omak, WA as a principal, assistant pastor, counselor, and friend to many students, families, and community members. The next twelve years saw him as co-pastor at St. Ignatius Mission, St. Ignatius, MT. In 1982 Fr. Joe returned to Omak, WA, as their pastor for two years; then he spent five years at St. Luke’s Church in Woodburn, OR, to assist his family in caring for their ailing mother. In 1991 Fr. Joe began pastoral duties for the Catholic community in Cloverdale, OR. He moved to Spokane in 1998 and lived in the Regis Community; there he did pastoral ministry in the city, helped with maintenance and gardening needs, and cared for the older Jesuits in the assisted-living center. Fr. Obersinner moved to the Los Gatos Infirmary in 2016 due to declining health. Perhaps first among his many life interests was fishing. Wherever Fr. Joe was assigned (or on vacation) he would scout out the best sites for landing “a big one,” usually a salmon or similarly prized fish. More than once he was teased as being a “fish whisperer” for his uncanny ability to find and bring home fish when others left empty handed. Other interests Fr. Obersinner enjoyed were gardening, playing the accordion, visiting people, and playing card games. He especially loved to play the accordion at birthdays and other celebrations. Fr. Joe was preceded in death by his brothers Leonard and Alan Obersinner. He is survived by several nephews and nieces as well as his brother Jesuits; there are countless friends and colleagues who will deeply miss him and cherish the ways he made an impact in their life. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00am, Friday, March 16, at St. Aloysius Church, 330 E. Boone Ave, Spokane, WA. Inurnment will follow at the Jesuit Cemetery, Mt. St. Michael’s, Spokane, WA. Contributions in honor of Fr. Obersinner may be sent to the Senior Jesuit Fund (P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286).


  • Fr. Joe was preceded in death by his brothers Leonard and Alan Obersinner. He is survived by several nephews and nieces as well as his brother Jesuits; there are countless friends and colleagues who will deeply miss him and cherish the ways he made an impact in their life.


  • Funeral Mass Friday, March 16, 2018

Rev. Joseph L Obersinner S.J.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Heidi Roddy

March 20, 2018

Today, I learned that your family is mourning the loss of your beloved Joseph. Please accept my condolences and be assured that almighty God is certainly aware of your painful feelings. May God comfort and sustain you to get through this day and others to come (Isa 41:13). Wishing your family all the best at this most difficult period.

Raila (rye-la) St.Paul Fishburn

March 18, 2018

Thank you "Father Obie" for being such a special part of our lives. I know that after you were greeted by all your loved ones at Heaven's Gate you had a tough or accordion! :-)
I was at St. Mary's Mission 1965-1967 and have been able to stay in touch over these years. We were very fortunate to have him bless my husband & I for our 25th Anniversary in the 90's then he graciously baptized both of our Grandbabies in 2006 & 2008. He would stop by our home occasionally and it wouldn't take too much encouragement to have him play my husband's accordion. :-D Our son was able to visit with Fr Obie & Fr Nigro in 2016 and sent the attached photo of them at their residence. I am disappointed we weren't able to take them up on their invitation to visit them before Fr. Obie changed his address. :-)

Blessings to you and your family.

Dottie Marchand

March 16, 2018

I will greatly miss Father Obersinner, he was a very good priest at St Mary’s Mission when I attended in my younger years. I remember the weekend of ice skating, roller skating, and playing bingo. I will cherish these memories of father because I would never have experienced these events on my own. Rest In Peace Father!

Eva Anderson

March 15, 2018

Father Joe officiated our wedding on 11-20-76, we are still married, he told Reed one time that he must be a Saint to still put up with me and I guess he is cause we are still married. Prayers and I know he is still praying for me to be good.

Jo Anna Stanger Woodard

March 15, 2018

Fr Obersinner was a family friend to the STANGERS. Spent alot of time with my parents back in those good ol Mission days in Omak. He was a great comfort for me when I took my brother Ron in who was fighting scleroderma at the time...he would sit with him and pray with him give him communion....and always had a box of chocolates for me 😀. He was a regular at the bbq’s I had for my brothers. I often wandered what happened to him cuz he quit calling...but he had that photo of us from one of the bbq’s...his lil family 😀. RIP Fr Obey you will be greatly missed by your Omak family 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 Need to find that pic and post...