Fr. Clarence J. Zachman, World’s Senior Oblate Passes at 103

Fr. Clarence J. Zachman, OMI

Father Clarence J. Zachman, OMI, 103, passed away Friday, January 19, 2024, at the Benedictine Living Community at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. He was the eldest Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate in the world.

Born November 2, 1920, to the late Louis and Philomena, nee Becker, Zachman in Rogers, MN, Fr. Clarence took his First Vows as a Missionary Oblate in August 1943, in Mission, TX. He was ordained a priest at St. Paul’s Cathedral in St. Paul, MN, on June 5, 1948.

After ordination, Fr. Clarence received assignments in Carthage, MO; Onaka, SD; Sisseton, SD; Duluth, MN; and Mountain Grove, MO. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1961. As a Chaplain, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel during his 20 years of service. He was stationed at Samsun, Turkey; Tokyo, Japan; and Ramstein, Germany; and stateside in Minot, ND; Tampa, FL; Anchorage, AK; Marquette, MI; and in Texas.

Fr. Zachman in the Air Force

He finished his traveling in 1989 when he was assigned to various ministries in Belleville, Illinois. During this time, he coined the phrase, “Jesus loves you and so do I.” His last assignments were at St. Henry’s Oblate Community in Belleville, and as chaplain at the Benedictine Living Community.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Arthur, Raymond, Norbert and Francis; and his sisters, Genieve, Cecilia and Rosalia.

Mourning his passing are his nieces and nephews; residents and staff at the Benedictine Living Community; and 3,500 Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate around the world.

Young Clarence Zachman as a scholastic at St Henry’s Seminary in 1946 (Photo courtesy of Dan Franklin, St. Henry’s Alumni Newsletter)

Visitation will take place from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday, January 25, 2024, at the Church of Our Lady of the Snows at the National Shrine Our Lady of the Snows, Belleville, IL. Mass of Christian Burial with military honors will follow at St. Henry’s Oblate Cemetery, Belleville, IL. The Mass will be livestreamed at oblatesusa/FrClarence.