Father Leo Stelten

father leo stelten
Rev Leo F Stelten, 93, was born in Minneapolis, MN on August 11, 1925 to Theodore and Esther (Martens) Stelten. He graduated from high school at Nazareth Hall, St Paul MN in 1943. He attended St Paul Seminary, St Paul, MN and graduated in June, 1950. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fargo on June 3, 1950 at St John’s Church, Wahpeton, ND. He served as an associate pastor at St Mary’s Cathedral, Fargo, ND following his ordination. In 1956, Fr Stelten attended the University of St Louis, St Louis, MN. He returned in 1957 to become the Dean of Men at Shanley High School, Fargo, ND. He was assigned to the faculty of Cardinal Muench Seminary, Fargo from 1962 to 1977. He was associate pastor at St Paul’s Newman Center, Fargo, ND in 1977. Fr Stelten joined the faculty of Pontifical College Josephinum, Columbus, OH in 1978. He retired from teaching in 1995. Fr Stelten was a natural born teacher and a true scholar. He translated old Latin documents and published a book about military procedures. He also wrote and published a Latin dictionary. He spent many hours as a hockey referee for games at the Fargo Coliseum. Assisting Fr Ed Arth, rector of Cardinal Muench Seminary, he was involved in building and maintenance projects. He also a strong supporter and lifelong friends of the Presentation Sisters, Fargo, ND. He loved his time away at “Dendroda,” his lake home on Wimer Lake, Frazee, MN. During his retirement, Fr Stelten spent time working in the library at Cardinal Muench Seminary. He indexed articles from our diocesan newspaper and the St Paul archdiocesan newspaper. The news articles were about our diocese dating back as far as 1909. He is survived by his sisters, Elizabeth (Betty) Worner, Grand Forks, ND (formerly of Fargo); Estherann (Dode) Olsen, Woodbury, MN and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his brother, Theodore Stelten and his sister, Kathleen Volker. Services: Prayer Service at St. Mary's Cathedral, Fargo, ND at 7:00 P.M. Tuesday. Visitation from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the church. The Funeral will be at St. Mary's Cathedral at 10:00 A.M. Wednesday. Visitation from 9:00 to 10:00 A.M. Interment at Holy Cross North Cemetery, Fargo.


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  1. A wonderful priest, man and mentor—had him when CMS first started, have stayed in contact with him—what a treasure to our Diocese and the field of education. My sincere condolences to his family–had the fortune to meet a nephew and his wife and visit with Fr. Stelten recently at Villa Maria. God was great when he gave us him as a priest.

  2. My deepest sympathies and prayers to you, Betty, Dode and your families. I met Fr Stelten 48 years ago when I was a freshman in college at Cardinal Muench Seminary. He was my professor for Latin and Greek for all of my 4 years at the seminary. He was an inspiration to me. I admired his enthusiasm and passion for the subjects that he taught. He was very dedicated to his students and promoting education. He was a wonderful brother priest and friend. May God bless him with peace and eternal rest.

  3. Rest in peace Fr. Stelten after all your years of service. So good to get to know you whilst working at CMS. Condolences to your family…… Mass will be requested and offered for your soul here in England.

  4. I also met him when I was a freshman at Cardinal Muench and although Latin was not my favorite subject, he was one of my favorite teachers. He always amazed me with his patience and his willingness to help students during study hall. God bless him and keep him.

  5. Have known Fr. Leo many years and most recently was blessed to spend some days visiting him at Villa Maria where my husband Kent also resides.. I have admired his many talents. We were really blessed to have him in our lives. Now he is enjoying his reward. My condolences to his family, his priest brothers and Presentation sisters. God be with you.

  6. Father Stelten played an integral role in the Ewals and Berthiaume Family.
    He was a wonderful friend.
    We spent many weekends at Dendroda playing pinochle and hand and foot till the wee hours of the morning.
    Had many Birthday parties there.
    We did a lot of traveling together to Europe, LasVegas, cruises and to see Father Reidman
    He married my son Wayne to Jody and baptized their children Megan and Ryan.
    Presided at our 25th wedding anniversary and buried my husband Ray.
    Now Ray and my brothers have another pinochle player.
    Would so like to be at his funeral, but the weather will not permit.
    Our sympathies to you Betty, Dode and families.

    Terry (Ewals)Berthiaume
    Wayne, Jody, Megan and Ryan. I

  7. A good priest, exemplary teacher and just man of many other talents has finished his journey among us. Rest in peace, Father Stelten– albeit you did not practice “resting” much while on earth. May your family and friends find comfort in their memories and consolation in their faith.

  8. I first met Leo in 1950. I would go with him Sunday mormings at 6:30 Am for mass at the VA hospital. Leo has been a friend and mentor. I thank the creator, family and friends for Leo and his service.

  9. What an honor it was to know such a wonderful priest! Sincere sympathy to the family. May your soul rest in peace Father Stelten.

  10. Fr Leo was a loving and caring person.i as a nephew am truly sorry I live so far away but I do have solice in knowing that I was lucky enough to share a birthday with my moms brother Aug 11.
    I wish all his family members my sincerest thoughts and prayers. Nothing I can say will make it better or easier, only that I am truly sorry for your loss. Love Herbie

  11. Fr. Leo was indeed a priest for others. He spent endless time and money helping out those in need. Few knew of the many ways and times he did this. He was a faithful and true friend. Most of all he was a very principled priest who believe in the dignity of the individual and in always working for true justice. I can only imagine what his joy must be now after being such a great priest of God. My prayers are with Betty and Dode as they say their last goodbyes. Of course
    I offered Mass for the repose of his soul. Fr. John Riedman

  12. It was such a honor to know Father Stelten as a great friend and priest. We had many a great times camping at his lake home “Dendroda” for Ewals, Berthiaume and Jenrich families’ birthdays and anniversaries. He was such a gracious host and it was so special that he would say Mass for us each day. There was always two tables of pinochle being played at all times and we always loved to see his train collection he had displayed in his yard. Our sympathies to his family Betty and Dode. May you find comfort in all your memories of him as he will always be remembered in ours. May he rest in eternal peace. Edward and Kathy (Jenrich) O’Connor

  13. Dear family, friends of Father Stelten,
    I knew Father Stelten as a fellow senior league
    hockey player back in the 70ies. We were on
    the same team for two years where I was right
    wing and he was our center. He was a wonderful
    team mate and even took me to the hospital one
    night after I received a concussion while playing.
    I last communicated with him on his 90th birthday
    when he responded to the card I sent him.
    God Bless his Memory

  14. I was a Latin student of Father Stelten at Shanley High School in years 1958 and 1959. He not only was a wonderful priest, teacher, mentor and friend, he was truly a gift from God. I just loved how he was always a positive role model, the consummate ally in ones quest to advance. I loved Father Stelten dearly and am deeply saddened by his passing.To his sisters and extended family, my prayers are with you. God Bless You!

  15. This was a great man . I graduated from Shanley in 1961 Fortunately Fr Stelton and I maintained our friendship for all these 57 years.. Tho I live in Washington DC I got back to Fargo as often as I could and that always included dinner there or at the lake. Even as he aged, the conversations were as bright and stimulating as ever. Those dinners were always a highlight of my visit. I will miss those times but have enjoyed our friendship for these past nearly 60 years. That was a blessing. RIP and much love to wonderful man and priest.

  16. The Pancratz family remembers Fr. Stelten as a wonderful Latin teacher at Shanley. Some of us had him for four years and his instruction provided a solid base for a life-long love of language.

    Laura Pancratz Isensee
    Lyn Pancratz Reis
    The entire Pancratz Family

  17. Rest In Peace. He was our priest at St. Williams inArgusville, ND.
    many times when I was little. I always thought he was just great.

    Joan Tandsater Peterson

  18. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

    Loved this dear priest. He was my personal director in college. After graduating in 1990, we remained in contact. He would visit me at my farm on his trips from the PCJ and Dendroda. Inspired me to call my farm Gallicantu. He was always interested in hearing about and from the sons of the Josephinum.

    God speed Fr. Leo Stelten, dear priest and friend.

  19. Family Members,
    Leo and I were good friends. We both enjoyed teaching
    College Students and attending Hockey Matches. He lived a
    great life and was a wonderful role model, colleague, and friend..
    Blessings Always, Rev. Ron Hooker

  20. It is with a deep sadness that we learn of Father Leo’s passing. He was filled with the Spirit of Christ and the energy of a scholar who shared his talents with all those he came in contact with. Our family connection started in the 1920’s when Ted Stelten was a manager of a hotel in Minneapolis. Ted and Esther stood up for my parents, John and Sibyl Carroll, at their wedding in 1930. We have many wonderful memories of the Stelten family.
    Rest in a well deserved peace Father Leo. God Bless you.

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