MINERAL RIDGE – Reverend Father Frank M. Lehnerd, 87, Pastor Emeritus of St. Edward Parish Family in Youngstown, passed away Saturday evening at his residence with his close friends who took care of him for many years.
Father Lehnerd was born in Youngstown on August 25, 1932, a son of Gus and Marguerite Lagergren Lehnerd. Bringing him home from the hospital, his father announced to the family, “The Skipper has arrived.” He has been known to his family and friends as “Skip” ever since.
Father Lehnerd attended St. Joseph Elementary School for 2 years and then St. Edward School through the ninth grade. He went on to Ursuline High School where he was involved in numerous clubs and activities with many leadership roles. He graduated from Ursuline in the Class of 1950. In pursuit of his vocation to the priesthood, he attended St. Gregory Seminary and Mount St. Mary Seminary of the West in Cincinnati, receiving from the Athenaeum of Ohio a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955 and a Master of Divinity degree granted in 1974. He pursued graduate studies in the field of education with courses at Xavier University in Cincinnati and Youngstown State University and received a Master of Arts Degree with a major in School Administration from Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. in 1964.
On May 31, 1958, Father Lehnerd was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Youngstown. The next day he celebrated his first Solemn Sunday Mass at St. Edward. Father Lehnerd served the diocese in many capacities. His first assignment was as Assistant Pastor at St. Michael Church, Canton. After two years, he began his longtime role as an educator at Cardinal Mooney High School where he served as teacher of Theology and Mathematics, Dean of Boys, and Assistant Principal. During this time he was also appointed Administrator of the newly created St. Jude Parish in Columbiana. He was then Assistant Principal and Dean of Boys at Central Catholic High School and Administrator of Sacred Heart Parish, both in Canton. The next nine years he spent in the roles of Principal of John F. Kennedy High School in Warren and Assistant Superintendent of Trumbull County Parochial Schools. During this time, he also took on the additional responsibilities as Pastor of St. Mary Church in Mineral Ridge. In 1976, while remaining at St. Mary’s, he moved from educational administration to social service leadership at the diocesan level. He was named Director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Youngstown, a position he would hold for the next 15 years, the latter 11 of which he also held the title of Episcopal Vicar for Social Concerns. In the midst of his duties in Catholic Charities and Vicar for Social Concerns, he served St. Catherine Church in Lake Milton and St. Stephen of Hungary Church in Youngstown as Pastor. In 1990, he returned home to St. Edward Parish Family where he had been baptized, gone to school, and created many cherished memories. He served there as Pastor until his retirement in 2005. For the remainder of his life he was actively involved in his home parish, attending Mass, parish events, and committee meetings.
Throughout the years, Father Lehnerd served as a member and on Boards of Directors for over two dozen organizations and committees focused on education, health, professional, and social service causes. Among those were the Knights of Columbus, Priest Senate for the Diocese of Youngstown, and A.C.T.I.O.N. He also served as Chaplain of Kunkel Army Reserve Base in Lordstown, National Chaplain of Catholic War Veterans Auxiliary, and Chaplain for the Ladies of Charity. Father Lehnerd has received many awards and accolades through the years for his dedication and service to others, notably the Governor’s Award for Community Action in 1973.
A proud Ursuline High School alumnus, Father Lehnerd looked fondly on his days as a student. His dedication to his alma mater continued throughout his life as he was a supporter of Ursuline drama presentations, Ursuline Golf Open, Nick Johnson Scholarship Dinner, Ursuline Boosters, Ursuline Auction, St. Ursula Day Masses, and Baccalaureate Masses for graduating seniors. He was also an active member of the Ursuline Alumni Association. He was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award in 2003.
Among his interests was traveling. Father Lehnerd spanned the globe visiting Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Virgin Islands, Egypt, and Tanzania. He had a passion for golf and loved to laugh and reminisce with friends and his large, loving family.
Father Lehnerd will be deeply missed and always remembered by his brother, Dr. James (Susan) Lehnerd of Columbus; sister-in-law, Barbara Lehnerd of Strongsville; several nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and great great nieces and nephews; and his close friends and caregivers, Jennifer and Jason Vinkler, with whom he made his home. The Lehnerd family thanks Jennifer Vinkler for her many years of care and support of Father Lehnerd.
Besides his parents, Father Lehnerd was preceded in death by brothers, Michael J., Charles F. (Mary Pat), and John L. Lehnerd; sister, Kathryn (Robert) Durivage; and a foster brother, Thomas Mullaney.
A private Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated by Monsignor Robert Siffrin at St. Edward Church in Youngstown. Father Lehnerd has been laid to rest at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
There will be a Memorial Mass celebrated at a later date for the community to offer their prayers and support.
Memorial gifts may be made to Catholic Charities, St. Edward Church, or Ursuline High School.
Thoughts and condolences may be sent to the funeral home website www.mccauleyfuneral.com
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