In Memory of Fr. Elmer

In Memory of Fr. Elmer

Fr. Richard Elmer, CSB
May 3, 1928 – November 4, 2021


Thursday, Nov 11 | Visitation at St. Catherine of Siena
A visitation will be held in the chapel of St. Catherine of Siena Academy beginning at 3 pm on Thursday, November 11, 2021 and concluding with a Rosary at 7 pm with a light reception to follow.

Friday, Nov 12 | Visitation – Detroit Catholic Central
A visitation will be held in the Chapel of St. Basil (Catholic Central) beginning at 1 pm on Friday, November 12, 2021 and concluding with a Vigil prayer service at 7 pm with a light reception to follow.

Saturday, Nov 13 | Funeral – St. James Parish
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 10 am at St. James Church in Novi, with interment immediately following at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in honor of Fr. Elmer can be made to St. Catherine of Siena Academy. All donations will be used to set up a Scholarship Fund in his honor. Donations can be made saintcatherineacademy.org/giving/make-a-gift/.

A message to remember from Fr. Elmer for our STARS!

Fr. Richard Elmer, CSB

On  Thursday, November 4, 2021, Father Richard Elmer, CSB, dedicated Basilian priest and educational figurehead to countless generations of Catholic youth in the metro Detroit area, passed away at the age of 93.

Fr. Elmer was born on May 3, 1928 in Detroit, MI to Frank and Loyola. He attended Epiphany grade school and graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School in 1946. He obtained a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Toronto in 1952 and was ordained in 1957. He also received a master of arts degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Detroit in 1963.

Fr. Elmer returned to Catholic Central as a teacher before spending six years as its Principal from 1967-1973, and Athletic Director from 1973-1978. In 1978, CC moved from Outer Drive to Breakfast Drive and Fr. Elmer moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the National Catholic Education Association, where he served in a senior administrative role to help organize its largest event, the NCEA Convention. After finishing his term in Washington DC, he was appointed as Dean of Men at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.
At the request of Fr. Joe Moffatt, CSB, Fr. Elmer returned to Catholic Central in 1990 to become its Director of Development and Alumni Relations, and later, would become its first President in 2000. As President, he would become the driving force in securing not only the land but also the donations to build a school at what would be CC’s fourth and final home on Wixom Road in Novi, MI. In 2008, while serving as CC’s President Emeritus, he spearheaded a collaboration between loyal friends and CC alumni to open St. Catherine of Siena, an all-girls Catholic school, in Wixom, MI. There, he served as St. Catherine’s first Principal and Chaplain. Fr. Elmer remained fiercely dedicated to his roles as CC’s President Emeritus and St. Catherine’s Chaplain until the time of his passing.
Everyone who has been blessed to spend time with Fr. Elmer knows it is impossible to fully encapsulate his unfaltering spirituality, endearing character, and infectious smile in just a few words on paper. He was well-known for his warm, personable attitude, and his ability to make you feel as if you were the only person in the room. The number of lives he positively impacted cannot be measured. His passion for Catholic education and his goal to assist as many souls to Heaven as possible in one lifetime will continue to inspire countless stories. His life serves as testament to the myriad of ways one human being can be of service to others, and his life’s story will continue to serve as a beacon of faith, hope, and love for many generations still to come.
In the words of Fr. Elmer, “The primary purpose for our existence is to get to Heaven. The richest nourishment for our journey is the Holy Eucharist. Our special spokesperson is Our Blessed Mother. Jesus and Mary please be with us now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
Fr. Elmer was preceded in death by his father, Frank, and his mother, Loyola. He is survived by his brother, Lawrence, sister-in-law, Francesca, his neice, Nikki Woodward, and her husband Ryan and grand-niece, Maxine, his nephew, Marc, his wife Amanda and their two children, Ella and Maria as well as many cousins (Margie Ashby) and extended family.
The Basilian Fathers are deeply grateful for the kind and loving care that Fr. Elmer received at Angela Hospice.