RIP: San Diego priest Rempfer Lees Whitehouse

Posted Apr 24, 2014

The Rev. Rempfer Lees Whitehouse, died in San Diego after a long illness. He was 91. He was preceded in death by his first wife and six siblings and is survived by seven children, 17 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, two siblings, as well as his second wife Mary Rose McCormick, a stepson and grandson.

“Fr. Jack” led a storied life. A decorated Army sergeant in the Second World War, wounded in action in the Hurtgen Forest, he was recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross. Following the war he led a movement for world government, and became a lifelong advocate for peace. Ordained to the Episcopal priesthood in 1952, his ministry took place largely on the west side of Chicago, notably during a 25-year term as vicar of Chicago’s Church of the Epiphany. An outspoken prophet and tireless worker for social justice, civil rights and education, he founded St. Gregory Choir School where hundreds of young men from the west side were educated and learned to sing the liturgy. His active ministry continued into his 90s in San Diego, where he also enjoyed golf and cigars.

Solemn Requiem Mass will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego on Saturday, May 3 in the early evening. A memorial service is planned for Chicago in the early summer.


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Comments (3)

  1. Fr. Whitehouse was indeed a legend at Church of the Epiphany, Chicago, and it was an honor to succeed him as Vicar of Epiphany in the late 90s. The many, many students that passed through St. Gregory’s School are a living testimony to his legacy as a teacher and devoted priest. May he rest in peace and rise in glory!

  2. george miller says:

    Father Whitehouse was a saint. I remember walking into a classroom at St Gregory’s and he was standing on a ladder trying to fix a leaky ceiling. When he came down off the ladder to greet us it was obvious that he had sacrificed some needed dental work to support St Gregory’s and the Church of the Epiphany (I found out later he was the largest pledger at the parish). He worked wonders.

  3. Bob Baumgarten says:

    In 1990-91, Father Jack was the Interim at St. David’s Episcopal Church in San Diego during which time he was also the spiritual counselor for the search committee. His insight and guidance calmed the jitters as the committee worked through the process; all members of that committee have forever recalled Fr. Jack’s help and strength, which spilled over into their own lives. The search committee eventually led to the vestry call of the Rev Susan L Tobias – ironically? Fr. Jack died on April 6th, and Susan died on April 30th; there’s Fr. Jack again: a forerunner for all to follow! RIP, my friend.

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