Rev. Msgr. Cletus Hawes

Reverend Monsignor Cletus J. Hawes, 96, of Wexford, rural Lansing died Saturday, April 1, 2023 at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon. A funeral mass will be held Wednesday, April 5 at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wexford (eight miles south of Lansing on the Great River Road) with Archbishop Michael O. Jackels officiating and burial in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be held at Immaculate Conception Church in Lansing Tuesday, April 4 from 4-8 p.m., where there will be a 3:30 p.m. scripture service, and will also be held one hour before the service at Wexford. Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon is handling arrangements.

Reverend Monsignor Cletus J. Hawes was born in Wexford, Allamakee County March 28, 1927, the son of John and Ellen (Conway) Hawes. He attended the one-room Wexford rural school through eighth grade, graduated from Immaculate Conception High School in Lansing in 1944, Loras College in Dubuque in 1948, and St. Mary’s Seminary University in Baltimore, MD in 1952. He was ordained into the priesthood April 26, 1952 in Dubuque.

Msgr. Hawes served as a parish priest, pastor and administrator all the years of his priesthood and worked in Catholic schools as a teacher, coach, counselor and administrator. He was often referred to as a workaholic and was a keen problem solver and community builder. His assignments included: St. Joseph Church and School in Elkader (1952-1957); St. Columbkille Church and School in Dubuque (1957-1962); Walhert High School (1960-1962); St. Mary Church and School in Cascade and Aquin High School (1962-1967); St. Bridget Church in Postville (1967-1972); De Sales High School in Ossian (1967-1969); St. Patrick High School in Waukon (1970-1971); Visitation Church and School in Stacyville (1972-1976); St. Joseph Church in Bellevue, coordinator for Marquette High School, and dean of the Bellevue Deanery (1976-1987); St. Donatus in 1980 and 1984; St. Peter, Sabula, and Sacred Heart in Green Island (1981); Holy Rosary in LaMotte (1982); St. Catherine (1986); St. Nicholas Church in Evansdale and coordinator at St. John-St. Nicholas School (1987-1999); St. Francis De Sales in Ossian, Our Lady of Seven Dolors in Festina, De Sales School, and CFS School (1999-2015); and St. Patrick in Waukon, St. Mary’s in Dorchester, and St. Mary’s Hanover (2015-2016).

Mgsr. Hawes was very active throughout his life in the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women (ACCW) and was a Faithful Friar of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus. He retired from his priestly assignments in 2016, and moved back to Wexford, living with his brothers, Cyril and Fr. Donald, on the farm where he was raised. Until the end, he remained active in the parish of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Wexford.

His father died when Msgr. Hawes was only eight years old, and he took the responsibility of being the big brother seriously. He set the spiritual example for his brothers and sisters and was always quick to provide love and support to those who needed him.

He was an enthusiastic card player, especially the Sunday night games of 500 with his brothers and neighbors. Having grown up on the farm, he had many activities that kept him outdoors, including fishing and hunting. In the summer, you could almost always find him in the garden growing vegetables. Msgr. Hawes was a fearless and avid traveler, having traveled to six of the seven continents. He loved to share his travel experiences with stories of his adventures and later by organizing trips with friends and family. In this way he could share his favorite pastimes with those people who were important to him.

He is survived by his brothers, Father Donald Hawes and Cyril Hawes; his nephews and nieces: Chris (Angelina) Hawes, Shawn (Matt) Hartung, Cheryl Nordlander, Valerie (Jeff) Foster, Michelle (Paul Sum) Rydz, Maureen (Paul) Bigelow, Brenda (Mark) Hostager, Michael (Gail) Hawes, Brian (Allison) Hawes and Tom Hawes, and their families; a large extended family; and many friends.

He was preceded in death by parents, John and Ellen; his two sisters, Sister Therese Marie Hawes (PBVM) and Alice Rydz and her husband, Robert; his brother, Gerald Hawes and his wives, Mary and Jane; and his grand-niece, Nicole Nordlander.

Casketbearers are Jeff and Matthew Foster, John and Pat O’Neill, Shane Gavin and Ray Wagner.

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