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 Cletus Leonard Abts

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Cletus Leonard Abts

  • Birth 8 Oct 1907 Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Death 30 Jun 2001 Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Burial Arcadia, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, USA
  • Memorial ID 50609192

LT COL US ARMY


Cletus L. Abts was born In Arcadia, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin on October 8, 1907, son of Michael and Clara (Zeller) Abts. He was educated at St. Aloysius Grade School and Arcadia High School, attended Beloit College and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He spent six years as an enlisted man before entering seminary training at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, WI. In all, he spent 26 years in the military, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and served as Division Chaplain of the 32nd Infantry Division. He served on active duty for the National Guard stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington in 1961 and 1962, and then returned to his parish in Wausau.


He was ordained on February 2, 1944 at St. John Cathedral, Milwaukee. His early assignments as an assistant were at the parishes of St. Matthew in Shullsburg, WI, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Arcadia, and Sts. Peter and Paul in Wisconsin Rapids.

Father Abts was appointed administrator of St. Joseph's Parish in Stevens Point in 1951 and St. Joachim Parish administrator in Pittsville in 1952 along with its three missions, Altdorf, Babcock and City Point. He served as principal and instructor at Maryheart High School at Pittsville from 1952 – 1955.

In 1955 he was transferred to Wausau as principal and under his direction Newman High School was built. In 1958 he was appointed pastor of the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus and constructed the church located at Ninth Avenue and Bopf Street in Wausau. He stayed there as pastor until 1969 when he moved on to St. Joseph's Parish in Stratford until 1972. His last assignment was at St. Agnes Parish in Callon from 1972 until 1975. Prior to his retirement in 1975, the parish hall, which he built, was named in his honor. In his retirement years he continued to celebrate weekend Mass at his home on Muskellunge Lake, Tomahawk, which was fondly referred to by his friends as "St. Cletus Parish."

Father Abts was very active in diocesan affairs including Dean of the Wausau Deanery; Chaplain of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas; Chaplain of the Newman Center Marathon County; First Chaplain of the Wausau Serra Club; Diocesan Chaplain Boy Scouts; Diocesan Youth Chaplain; Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus; George Schreier Council No. 1069; Faithful Friar of the Pere Rene Menard Assembly Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus; Secretariate of the Cursillo movement in the Diocese; Diocesan Board of Consultors; member of St. Joseph Priest's Fund Board; Member of Presbyteral Council; Appointed to College of Consultors; Member of Diocesan Synod. He was also instrumental in forming the Serra Club of Wisconsin Rapids and was a member of the Elks Lodge No. 248, Wausau.

Reverend Cletus Abts died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield, WI on June 30, 2001. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery in Arcadia, WI.

*A huge thank you to Bill Hart for the wonderful bio information on Cletus.


Family Members


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  • Created by: Devil Kitty Designs
  • Added: 3 Apr 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 50609192
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Cletus Leonard Abts (8 Oct 1907–30 Jun 2001), Find A Grave Memorial no. 50609192, citing Calvary Cemetery, Arcadia, Trempealeau County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Devil Kitty Designs (contributor 46847477) .