Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 4, 2002
Fr. Anthony Dittrich: remembered as loyal, generous
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Edmonton Archdiocese has lost another priest, whose generosity and unwavering commitment to his faith are known to his family, colleagues, friends and parishioners.
Father Anthony Dittrich died peacefully at Red Deer Regional Hospital after a lengthy illness Oct. 25. He was 81.
Eighth among 11 children, he was born in Stettler, Sept. 29, 1921. Ordained to the priesthood in 1949, Dittrich served in the archdiocese for more than 40 years as pastor and hospital chaplain. He served in Nordegg, Rocky Mountain House, Penhold, Red Deer, Mayerthorpe, Killam, Jasper and Ponoka.
Upon retirement, he made Red Deer his home and served the people by celebrating Mass at his house. In Red Deer he also learned Spanish and celebrated Mass with the city's Spanish community.
Father Karl Raab first met Dittrich about 50 years ago, shortly after Dittrich was ordained.
"He's one of the most unforgettable persons I've ever met. He's a free spirit, very spontaneous and he has many talents and capabilities," Raab said.
As people would always say, "There is nothing Father Dittrich couldn't fix." He was a jack-of-all-trades. He especially enjoyed restoring cars and woodwork.
"He was extremely generous and a very loyal friend. People wouldn't know how much he really gave to others."
Dittrich was Raab's mentor and spiritual director when the latter was a newly-ordained priest in Olds. "He was always there to support me," Raab said.
When it came to ministry, Dittrich was severe and orthodox. "In that sense I will say that he was very hard on himself, perhaps hard on other people too. He was quite demanding because he's got very high ideals."
Ed Dittrich, the priest's nephew, told the WCR he could not forget his uncle's generosity.
"We as a family were brought up really strict," Ed said.
Although his uncle was strict, Ed said he and his cousins always had fun with him whenever he visited their farm near Stettler.
"He was a very approachable uncle, who just loved to spend time with us," Ed said.
Ed said his uncle was black and white when it came to the faith. "Either you're right or you're wrong when it comes to faith matters. But he was a very forgiving person too."
Father Tony, as he was fondly called, led Randene Dittrich, Ed's wife, in her conversion to Catholicism.
"He was very outgoing, very warm and very personable. He took his responsibilities of being a (priest) very seriously. And I loved his laugh," Randene told the WCR.
Father Tony was buried at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Red Deer, Oct. 30.