The Rev. John Sustarsic, 90, died Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth.

Father Sustarsic was born in Menges, Slovenia Dec. 14, 1922. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Duluth by Bishop Thomas Welch June 7, 1952. He began his priesthood as an assistant priest at St. Joseph’s Church, Gilbert followed by seven years as an assistant at Holy Family Church, Eveleth. In 1960 he was named pastor of St. Kevin Church, Pengilly. He returned to St. Joseph’s Church, Gilbert as pastor in 1972 and served there until 1981. He continued serving as pastor at St. Anthony Church, Ely; Holy Rosary Church, Aurora; and completed his last pastorate at St. Pius X Church, Babbitt, retiring in 1997.

He served for many years as a chaplain to the Knights of Columbus. Following his retirement as pastor, he resided at St. Anne’s Residence in Duluth. He made regular hospital visits, assisted with Masses at St. Mary Star of the Sea and never tired of sharing the Good News of the Gospel. His final years were spent at Benedictine Health Center where visitors would often find him in the chapel, in adoration and praying the rosary. In the last weeks of his life Father was able to participate in a special Mass said in Slovenian in honor of the Venerable Bishop Baraga. Father Sustarsic was a beautiful example of a priest following in the footsteps of this spiritual father.

Father Sustarsic is survived by his sister, Dora Simenc in California; and by numerous nieces and nephews of both the Kozina and Simenc families.


Mass of Christian Burial 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, at the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Gilbert with the Most Rev. Paul Sirba as celebrant. A visitation will be held Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. with a rosary at 7:30 p.m. led by the Rev. Charles Flynn at the Ziemer-Moeglein-Shatava Funeral Home in Gilbert and will continue one hour prior to Mass at the church. Interment will be in the Gilbert Cemetery.

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