January 13, 2023

Father Hartzer served in parishes across central and southern Indiana

By Sean Gallagher

Father John “Jack” HartzerFather John “Jack” Hartzer, a retired archdiocesan priest, died on Dec. 21, 2022, in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he had been living in retirement with family members for several years. He was 93.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. at St. Lawrence Church, 542 Walnut St., in Lawrenceburg. Burial will follow at the priest circle at Greendale Cemetery in Greendale.

Archbishop Charles C. Thompson is scheduled to be the principal celebrant of the funeral Mass. Retired Father Paul Landwerlen is scheduled to be the homilist.

Father Landwerlen was a friend of Father Hartzer, who was commonly known as Father Jack, for nearly 80 years. They were in seminary together at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad for about nine years and were brother priests in the archdiocese for 68 years.

“We called him ‘Smiling Jack,’ ” Father Landwerlen recalled, “because he always had a smile on his face. I think that’s the way he treated everybody.”

Father Hartzer took that positive outlook on faith and life to parishes across central and southern Indiana.

“He liked to be with people,” Father Landwerlen said. “When he retired, he would go back and help out at different parishes. He was always willing to come and do priestly work even after he retired.”

Father Landwerlen had a simple message in summing up his friend’s legacy as an archdiocesan priest for nearly 70 years.

“He was a good and holy man who tried to serve the Lord and serve people as well as he could,” Father Landwerlen said. “He was a fun-loving guy who loved people and loved God.”

John Edward Hartzer was born on May 7, 1929, in Indianapolis to the late Edward and Hilda Hartzer. He grew up as a member of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral Parish.

After attending Cathedral High School in Indianapolis for three years, Father Hartzer became an archdiocesan seminarian and received priestly formation at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy there.

Archbishop Paul C. Schulte ordained Father Hartzer a priest on May 3, 1954, at the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln in St. Meinrad.

His first pastoral assignment was as assistant pastor of the former Holy Trinity Parish in Indianapolis, where he served from 1954-63.

Father Hartzer then served as associate pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in Connersville from 1963-69 and St. Christopher Parish in Indianapolis from 1969-72.

In 1972, he was assigned as co-pastor of St. Mark the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis, serving there until 1981.

From 1981-93, Father Hartzer ministered as pastor of the former Holy Family Parish in Richmond (now part of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish there).

His last pastoral assignment was as pastor of St. Lawrence Parish in Lawrenceburg, where he served from 1993 until being granted permission to retire in 2004.

Memorial contributions may be sent to St. Lawrence Parish, 542 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025. †

Local site Links: