Father Walter Bly, teacher and coach at Saint Joseph High School, dies at 90

Kaniewski Funeral Homes, Inc. Saint Joseph High School
ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Father Walter Bly, a beloved member of the Saint Joseph High School community, passed away Thursday at the age of 90, according to the high school.

Father Bly began his tenure at the high school in 1968, where he served as a theology teacher and freshman football coach.

He was inducted into the Indiana Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003.

In 2012, Saint Joseph High School named Father Bly Field at Leighton Stadium after Father Bly.

He continued to visit with students and staff long after he retired.

“Fr. Bly had a deep love and a lifelong commitment to Saint Joseph High School and the Catholic Church," said Saint Joseph High School Principal Kennedy. "Through his teaching, coaching, and ministry, he helped shape many young people's lives - especially the young men that played for his beloved Saint Joe Football Team. He was a fixture here for over 50 years and will be deeply missed.”

There was a mystique about and reverence for Fr. Bly that began when freshmen first met him and continued well into adulthood," said former head football coach Ben Downey. "He had a special bond with and impact on members of the Saint Joe football team through the years, so much so that former players, whether they're in their 20's, 60's, or somewhere in between will be heartbroken about his passing, yet eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn from a man who was so good, so humorous, and so wise."

"Fr. Bly's dedication, passion, and commitment to his faith, his teams, and the mission of Saint Joseph High School will live on through the countless lives he inspired throughout his service as theology teacher, school chaplain, and coach," said Director of Pastoral Ministry, Christine Baglow. "Saint Joe is a remarkable and transformative institution because of remarkable and transformative influences like Fr. Bly.”

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend released the following statement:

"The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is saddened by the death of Father Walter Bly, ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on May 30, 1964. He served in several parishes in the Diocese, but of special mention is his years-long service as teacher and coach at Saint Joseph High School, South Bend, Indiana. We pray that God will give him eternal rest. At this time, arrangements are pending."

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