Father Norbert J. Fleckenstein, MM
Born: July 4, 1923
Ordained: June 10, 1950
Died: August 9, 1962
Norbert J. Fleckenstein was born in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada on July 4, 1923. After graduating from St. Stephen’s High School, Port Huron in June of 1941 he entered the Venard in September of that year. He was ordained on June 10, 1950. After ordination he was assigned the Venard faculty and the following year was sent to Catholic University to study for his Ph.D. in Philosophy which he obtained in 1954.
He was then appointed to the faculty at Glen Ellyn to teach Philosophy. He was very successful in the classroom, as many of his pupils can testify. In addition to his duties as a professor he was also Prefect of Discipline and not infrequently accepted extra work in the form of preaching retreats and missions in nearby parishes. When it was necessary to enlarge Glen Ellyn in anticipation of increased enrollment, he was asked to head the faculty committee on administration. His experience and his concern for the best in seminary formation made him peculiarly well fitted to lead this committee in a hew approach to the organization of the seminary on a unit basis.
As it was evident that his duties on the Glen Ellyn faculty in such key positions would prevent him from going to the missions for a long period, he was given an opportunity to visit most of the Latin American missions in the summer of 1961, after he had preached the priests’ retreats in Guatemala.
He spent the summer of 1962 mostly at Glen Ellyn but in early August decided to go home for a few days before it was time to get ready for the new and returning students. He and his brother, Father Charles, went to their cottage on the shores of Lake Huron. While swimming Father Fleckenstein drowned.
The funeral was held in the home parish of St. Joseph in Port Huron. Great numbers of priests, Brothers and Sisters, as also lay people attended the services. Archbishop Dearden of Detroit celebrated a Pontifical mass and in his eulogy spoke eloquently of Father Fleckenstein. Father Charles had been a member of the staff in the Detroit Chancery Office. Father Fleckenstein was buried in the Port Huron family plot. A special section of the seminary library at Glen Ellyn, set apart for the study of Philosophy, was dedicated to Father Norbert’s memory.