Alumni Association of The Pontifical North American College

Ralph Gillis

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Rev. Ralph Joseph Gillis, 81, Green Bay, formerly of Crandon, died Saturday, October 18, 2014. 

He was born August 9, 1933, in Green Bay to Albert and Lillian (De Both) Gillis. He attended Central Catholic High School (now Notre Dame Academy). After high school, he attended St. Norbert College for one year. During this time he played clarinet with the Packer Band and the Green Bay Symphony. He then entered St. Francis Minor Seminary. After one year, he transferred to St. Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, Indiana, where he graduated with a degree in Philosophy. He studied Theology at the North American College (Gregorian University) in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest at the Chapel of the North American College, Rome, Italy. His first Mass upon his return to the United States was at his family's home parish, St. Agnes in Green Bay. 

Father Ralph served as Assistant Pastor at Holy Martyrs of Gorcum Church, Green Bay; St. Boniface Church in Manitowoc; St. John Parish, Antigo; and St. Jude Parish, Green Bay. As Pastor, Father Gillis served St. Mary Parish, Florence; St. Norbert Parish, Long Lake; St. Charles Borromeo Parish, Lena; St. Joseph Parish, Crandon; St. Mary Parish, Argonne; St. Michael Parish, Hiles and St. Ambrose Parish, Wabeno. In addition to his parish assignments, Father Gillis served as Chaplain of the University Newman Club at the University of Wisconsin Extension, Manitowoc and at Manitowoc County Teachers' College. He also worked in the Diocesan Tribunal Office as Defender of the Bond and as Judge. He also served as Regional Vicar. Father Ralph retired on May 1, 2012. 

Father Gillis is survived by a brother, Norbert Gillis, Green Bay; a sister, Sr. Marion Gillis, OSF, Manitowoc; brother-in-law, Al Steffel; sister-in-law, Evelyn Gillis; and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Cletus Gillis; sister, Mildred Steffel; and sister-in-law, Mary Gillis.

The visitation for Father Gillis will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, at St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1484 Ninth St. Green Bay. The Funeral Liturgy, expressing our faith and our hope in the promised glory of the Lord's Resurrection, will take place at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, with Bishop Robert Morneau as Celebrant. Burial will be in Allouez Catholic Cemetery.

Blaney Funeral Home is assisting the family. To send online condolences, please go to

A memorial fund has been established to benefit St. Joseph Parish in Crandon and The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Manitowoc.

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