Parish priest remembers Father Jan Klimczyk, killed in hit-and-run

NOW: Parish priest remembers Father Jan Klimczyk, killed in hit-and-run

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – Late Monday evening, first responders were called out near State Road 2 and Chapel Lane, to a hit-and-run accident, and found sixty-seven year old Fr. Jan Klimczyk on the ground.

He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Neighbors living nearby were shocked.

“I can’t imagine hitting a person and just driving on!” said Anna Meek, who lives out on Chapel Lane. “For it to be a hit and run and for it to be a man of God—I’m not a religious person, but it’s just that added drama to it, it’s upsetting, it’s unfortunate, it’s sad!”

Klimczyk—who had come to the United States from Poland—had been assigned to the Holy Family Catholic Church around six years ago, where he worked closely with Fr. Glenn Kohrman.

“We crossed paths, got to know him, we had some wonderful conversations about current events,” remembered Fr. Kohrman. “He was very connected to world events, and being from Poland, he had a great sense of international aspects.”

Fr. Kohrman told me that even though he had been retired. Fr. Klimczyk remained very active—in the church and in life, taking long walks for exercise, before he started riding his bike.

“He was available to help me with services, masses so he would help with daily masses, sometimes on the weekend, and in fact, he had the children’s mass the day he died,” Fr. Kohrman said, adding that the words he chose to close out his homily were significant.

“They were kind of chilling, actually,” he said. “It was the feast of the Queenship of Mary, and the last line of his homily was ‘may Mary pray for us until we enter or meet in eternal life.’”

Fr. Kohrman believed it showed some of the strength of Fr. Klimczyk’s faith, and that even under the tragic circumstances of his death, he hoped that everyone could find some solace in prayer.

“He would want people to pray for all those involved,” said Fr. Kohrman. “The family and friends who’ve experienced a loss, I think that’s the best thing that we can do in these very difficult, incomprehensible events in our lives.”

St. Joseph County investigators are still searching for those responsible for the hit-and-run; we have reached out for updates on the investigation, though so far we have not received a response.

Fr. Klimczyk’s funeral mass will be held on Monday, August 29 at 12:00p at St. Adalbart’s in South Bend.

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