Fr. Prunty

Fr. Brian John Prunty, O. Praem.

January 16, 1936 – January 4, 2020

Father Brian John Prunty, O. Praem., age 83, a member of the Norbertine Community of St. Norbert Abbey, De Pere, Wisconsin, and a Norbertine priest, passed into God’s eternal kingdom on January 4, 2020.

Fr. Brian was born in New London, Wisconsin on January 16, 1936, to the late Francis and Margaret (Murray) Prunty.

His call to priesthood came while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school. In 1956, he enrolled at St. Norbert College and entered the Norbertine Order a year later. Fr. Brian was vested as a novice on August 28, 1957. He professed Simple Vows on August 28, 1959; Solemn Vows on August 28, 1962; and ordained to the Priesthood on June 5, 1965.

In May of 1961, Fr. Brian graduated from St. Norbert College, De Pere, with a B.A. in philosophy and second and third majors in social science and secondary education. He received an M.A. in sociology from De Paul University, Chicago, Illinois in June of 1971 and a B.A. in medical science in the Physician Assistant Program at St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri in 1983.

Fr. Brian became a faculty member in the 1960s – 1970s at the following schools: Premontre High School, Green Bay, Wisconsin; St. Martin de Porres High School, Detroit, Michigan; and St. Willibrord Catholic High School, in Chicago. He served as Pastor at St. Willibrord Parish and became President/Chief Administrator of the high school.

In, 1983 Fr. Brian worked as a Physician Assistant at Cook County Jail and Hospital in Chicago and ministered at various Chicago parishes. His medical skills and passion for diversity ultimately led him to more than 20 years of work there. He also volunteered at a neighborhood free clinic but wanted to do more.

Fr. Brian then joined the Norbertine mission (hospital, clinic, parish and secondary school) on the Napo River, deep in the Peruvian rainforest in 1987. There he served as a Physician Assistant/Medical Missionary at Santa Clotilde on the Rio Napo in Iquitos, Peru. Three years later, Fr. Brian returned to Chicago and resumed his ministry at Cook County Jail Hospital.

In 1995, he became Associate Director of Formation and House Superior at the Holy Spirit House of Studies, Chicago, IL. At the same time, he served on the Abbot’s Council, the Order’s Personnel Board and as a member of the St. Norbert College Board of Trustees.

He became Pastor at St. Norbert College in September of 2002, and House Superior at St. Joseph Priory, De Pere, WI. He continued to teach at the college until 2010. He retired to St. Norbert Abbey in 2014. 

Fr. Brian is survived by the Norbertine Community; two sisters and brothers-in-law, Jane (Tom) Schermitzler and Margaret (Frank) Klegin; several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother and sister-in-law, James (Roberta) Prunty; and one sister, Phyllis Jarecki.


Vespers of the Dead and Reception of the Body will be held at the church of St. Norbert Abbey on Friday, January 10, 2020 beginning at 7:00 p.m., followed by visitation until 9:00pm. Visitation will resume on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. until the Funeral Mass at 10:30 a.m. expressing our faith and hope in the promised glory of the Lord’s Resurrection. The Rt. Rev. Dane J. Radecki, O. Praem., Abbot of St. Norbert Abbey, will preside at the Funeral Mass.

Burial will be in the St. Norbert Abbey Cemetery at a later date. Ryan Funeral Home, De Pere is in charge of the arrangements.

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