Father Lyle Schulte passed into his Creator’s arms at 6:43 a.m. on August 9, 2020, in the 86th year of his life.
He enjoyed active retirement since July 2008, finally succumbing to pneumonia after years of complicated diabetes, two cancer operations, and a hip replacement. May he rest in peace.
Father Schulte was born in Marshfield, Wis. on September 9, 1933, the eighth son of Alex, Sr. and Margaret (Lauer) Schulte. He attended Marshfield’s Sacred Heart Parish Grade School, educated by the Notre Dame Sisters. At age 14, he began preparatory studies, which would lead him to the priesthood, beginning with Aquinas High School in Lacrosse. He enrolled next in 1951 at the newly established Holy Cross Collegiate Seminary in Lacrosse. He completed his college and graduate studies as a Basselin Scholarship student at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. His final seminary formation and academic work were completed at the Theological College at that same university.
Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John P. Treacy, he began his priestly life among the people of the Diocese of Lacrosse on May 14, 1960. He initially served one year at the Newman Catholic High School, Wausau, with parish experience at St. Michael Parish, Wausau, and chaplaincy service among the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters who staffed Newman. This was followed by 19 years of full-time daily college classroom teaching, first at Holy Cross Seminary in Lacrosse (10 years), and finally at Viterbo University (nine years) in La Crosse.
Simultaneously with his academic work in Lacrosse, he served as a daily chaplain to the cloistered Sisters of St. Dominic (1968-1979) and as a student chaplain for two years at Viterbo University. Intending to remain in college work, Father Schulte availed himself of continuing summer graduate courses in history, western culture, and philosophy at such schools as Duquesne University, Fordham University, the University of Minnesota, St. Paul, and the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse. He also studied art and architecture as a personal interest. Over the years he acquired three academic master’s degrees.
In 1979, at the request of Bishop Frederick Freking, he accepted his first pastoral assignment, St. Joseph Parish, Stevens Point, Wis. This brought him much joy and priestly fulfillment for the next eighteen years. Skills learned in the classroom over the previous twenty years had prepared him for pastoral work with youth and children, adult education and administration, and an easy presence in the pulpit. His work at St. Joseph Parish included the renovation of the church in 1984 and the erection of the Parish Family Center in 1994, along with the first steps in the consolidation of the Catholic schools of Stevens Point.
In 1996, Bishop Raymond Burke requested that Father Schulte serve as pastor at St. Joseph Parish, Menomonie, Wisconsin, and at St. Luke Parish, Boyceville, Wisconsin. It turned out to be loving congregations to serve, with members spread out over three quarters of the villages and farms of the entire County of Dunn. It was a new joy and a wonderful challenge. The two parishes and a new grade school blossomed; the laity continued in their very mature practice of the faith, and the youth and elderly were lovingly served.
It wasn’t always work over the years. Father Schulte was a victim of the bicycle craze during his years in the ministry. The Red Cedar Trail in Dunn County was great but annual three-week summer vacations allowed him to indulge in his best past time—bicycling on very long trips across such places as North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Vermont…even trips through Ireland, Scotland, England and several countries of Western Europe including Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and Germany.
Father Schulte retired at age 70 to take up residence and daily liturgical work at St. Michael Parish in Junction City, Wisconsin, a setting in the middle of all sorts of friends and family. These friends, along with lots of reading, sacramental service to St. Michael Parish, building a deck, and tending a little vegetable garden and flower gardens made his retirement an anteroom to heaven. He was well prepared to meet his God and Savior in the end.
Father Schulte is survived by one brother, James (Vickie) of Austin, Minnesota, along with more than 135 nieces and nephews plus in-laws, and grand nieces and nephews residing everywhere here and abroad.
He is preceded in death by his parents; six brothers: Clarence (June), Maurice (Stella), Urban (Mary Helen), Leo, Rev. Oswald, Alex Jr. (Bernadeen); two sisters, Eileen Rothstein (Ralph) and Peggy Jane; one nephew, Paul Rothstein; and one niece, Renee Schulte.
A Mass of Resurrection will be celebrated with Bishop William P. Callahan, OFM Conv. at 11 a.m. on Friday, August 14, 2020, at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1709 Wyatt Ave., Stevens Point. Reservations are a must in the COVID-19 era—please call Joann at 434-989-7248 or 715-341-2943.
There will be a visitation at St. Joseph Parish on Thursday, August 13 from 4-7 p.m. with a service at 7 p.m. and visitation on the day of the funeral from 9-10:30 a.m. at the church.
Pisarski Funeral Homes are honored to be serving the family. For online condolences please visit www.pisarskifuneralhome.com.
He loved his family, his work, and the people he served. May he rest in peace.
Memorial for Father Lyle will be a new bell in the church tower at St. Joseph Parish. Please make checks payable to St. Joseph Parish with a notation on the memo line for Fr. Lyle Memorial Fund. Checks may be mailed to St. Joseph Parish, 1709 Wyatt Ave, Stevens Point, Wis. 54481.