Fr. Harold Paul Ruddy

Rev. “Harold” Paul Ruddy, OSFS passed from this life on Monday, June 13, 2022. at Bethany House in Jackson, MI, of natural causes. He was 99 years old. Fr. Paul will be remembered by friends and family as an educator, a pastoral minister, a pastor, a man who loved being with people, a former farmer who loved working outdoors, a cherished family member, a committed and faithful member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and, most importantly, a man of faith.


Father Ruddy was born in Montrose Township, Michigan on September 23, 1922, to Harold P. and Margaret Ruddy, the oldest of nine children. Father Paul is survived by his brother Daniel (Jane) Ruddy and his sisters-in-law Patricia, Betty and Janet and numerous nieces and nephews and many great-nieces and nephews and great-great nieces and nephews.  He was predeceased by his parents Harold and Margaret Ruddy, his sisters-and brothers in law Mary and Virgil Verhaeghe, and Catherine and William Flynn, and by his brother and sister-in law Maurice and Betty Ann Ruddy, and by his brothers Ralph, Robert, Arthur and Raymond.


Fr. Ruddy attended Bliss Elementary School in Montrose Township, MI, and St. Michael High School in New Lothrop, MI. When he was ready for high school, the Pastor of St. Michael Parish in Maple Grove came to the house and said a parishioner of St. Michael’s told him about a Catholic family living close to the parish who had a big family and children ready to enter High School. He said he would be happy to have all of the children come there for their education and Paul, along with all of his siblings, attended St. Michael High School. The pastor was particularly interested in recruiting Paul because he was a good basketball player. He and three of his brothers were the athletic powerhouse for the school for a number of years.


Fr. Ruddy came from a farming family in Michigan and, following his graduation from high school, worked on the family farm with his father until 1945 when he enlisted in the Navy. He was discharged in 1946 after the war. By 1952 Paul was working a few hundred acres of rented land and had established himself in his own right as a budding cash crop farmer with a growing dairy herd of pure-bred Holsteins which he used for milk and pigs he raised. Deciding to join the Oblates in 1952 he auctioned all of this farm equipment and animals, and two or three of his best buddies drove him to Childs, Maryland to begin his new life with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. 


Fr. Ruddy began his postulancy in the Oblates in 1952, entered the novitiate in September 1953 and made his first profession of vows as an Oblate on September 8, 1954. Following that he graduated from Niagara University in 1960 with a BA in history and studied theology at Catholic University. He was ordained a priest on April 11, 1964.


Fr. Ruddy’s ministerial work was focused in three areas: education, parish ministry, and his time as a senior religious ministering as a sacramental minister in various parishes and working on the grounds at Camp de Sales. 


His educational work occurred at Fr. Judge High School and Northeast Catholic High School both in Philadelphia, PA, and at St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo, OH. His parish ministry began as an associate pastor at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in New Orleans in 1969. In 1976 he became the associate pastor at St. John Parish in Jackson, MI. In 1981 he was appointed pastor of St. Alexis in Ypsilanti, MI. 1988 brought him as pastor to Sacred Heart Parish in Hudson, MI. In 2001, Fr. Ruddy entered senior religious status and moved to the Oblate residence at Camp de Sales in Brooklyn, MI and in 2015 to the Oblate residence in Jackson, MI. As a senior religious Fr. Ruddy served many years as the sacramental minister in at St. Dominic’s in Clinton, MI, and kept his farming roots alive by maintaining the grounds at Camp de Sales.


A visitation will be held Wednesday at Sacred Heart Church in Hudson from 4-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 pm. A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, Tecumseh, MI. The viewing will be from 9:00AM to 10:45AM. The mass will begin at 11:00AM. Burial at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Cemetery in Flushing, MI on Friday, June 17, 2022. 11:00AM.  Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson-Marry Funeral Home, Adrian MI.


Donations in memory of Fr. Ruddy may be made to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, PO Box 2868, Toledo OH 43606.