Niagara Gazette


July 12, 2014

Former NU standout Msgr. Willenburg dies

Niagara Gazette — The Rev. Monsignor Francis J. Willenburg, who was a part of the Niagara University basketball team that defeated then-powerhouse City College of New York in 1949, died Thursday in Utica, Niagara University athletic department officials announced.

Msgr. Willenburg, who was ordained in February 1954, died at the St. Joseph Nursing Home. He was 85 years old.

As a student-athlete at Niagara University from 1946 to 1949, Msgr. Willenburg earned varsity letters in four sports: football, baseball, golf and basketball. He played his basketball on campus under legendary coach John ‘Taps’ Gallagher.

Following his junior year, he entered St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester. 

After becoming a priest, Msgr. Willenburg continued to play hoops in the former State Hospital League for the Utica State Hospital team.

His athletic accomplishments earned him honors in Central New York, including induction into the Rome Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, the SUNY Institute of Technology Utica/Rome Wildcat Booster Hall of Fame in 1995, Central New York Bowling Hall of Fame and the Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

Msgr. Willenburg is survived by his sister, Anne Morris of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and his nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, cousins, and godchildren.

Neither funeral arrangements nor plans for any possible upcoming memorial services were available at the time of the announcement.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page