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Rev. John A. Koonz, 76

November 27, 2013

DALTON, Mass. — The Rev. John A. Koonz, 76, of West Springfield, formerly of North Adams, died Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his family. He was pastor of St. Agnes' Church in Dalton for 22 years.

Born in Cornwall, N.Y., son of Joseph H. and Theresse Gunther Koonz, he attended St. Columba Elementary School in Chester, N.Y., until 1946, when his family moved to North Adams. He attended the former St. Joseph's Elementary School and graduated from the former St. Joseph's High School with the class of 1955. He graduated from St. Anselm's College in 1959 and completed his theological studies at St. Mary's University of Theology Seminary in Baltimore in 1963.

On May 26, 1963, Father Koonz was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Christopher J. Weldon at his home parish, the former St. Francis of Assisi in North Adams.

He first served at Christ the King Parish in Ludlow followed by time at Our Lady of Hope in Springfield. He was administrator at St. John's Church in Millers Falls from 1969 to 1973 and at Holy Name Church in Springfield from 1973 to 1978. He was named administrator at St. Agnes in 1978 and pastor on Nov. 6, 1980. Father Koonz retired May 2, 2002, because of physical disability.

He held many positions within the Springfield Diocese starting in 1969, when he was elected to the Priest's Senate and held the position of secretary until 1972. From 1969 to 1973, he was the deanery director of religious education for Franklin County and, from 1971 to 1976, president of the Laymen's Academy for Ecumenical Studies in Amherst. In 1973, he was elected to the Clergy Commission, serving on its Personnel Board and, from 1975 to 2002, served on the Ecumenical/Interfaith Commission. He was diocese's ecumenical officer from 1978 to 1985; led an Interfaith Mission to Israel in 1974; served as the dean of the Interfaith School of Theology in 1976, and was a delegate to the National Workshop on Christian Unity in 1977.

From 1984 to 2002, Father Koonz was the Vicar Forane and dean of the Southern Berkshire Deanery. He celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination on May 26. After his retirement, he moved to West Springfield to reside with his sister, Virginia Koonz.

Besides his sister, leaves two other sisters, Annette Koonz Leveque of North Adams and Joan Koonz Gazzaniga of Williamstown; his sister-in-law, Barbara Munday Koonz, and nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

He was predeceased by his sister Mary Ellen Koonz in 1963 and his brother, Joseph H. Koonz Jr., on Sept. 28.

FUNERAL NOTICE — A Liturgy of Christian Burial for Father Koonz will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. from St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church, 70 Marshall St., North Adams. Burial will follow in Southview Cemetery.

The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the funeral. Memorial donations are suggested to BARC or St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in care of the Flynn & Dagnoli-Montagna Home for Funerals, Central Chapels, 74 Marshall St. North Adams, MA 01247.


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