LIVES OF THE BRETHREN 2003 -- present
This Appendix contains brief biographies of all the members of the Province who have died since the beginning of the year 2003.
ASHENBRENNER, Raymond Nicholas February 20, 2003
LEAHY, Thomas Paul February 17, 2003


Thomas Paul Leahy Thomas Francis Leahy, the oldest of the two children of Richard T. Leahy and Honora ("Nora") O'Connor, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 6, 1926. He attended St. Matthew Grammar School and entered St. Rita High School (1941-42), both in Chicago. His high school education was interrupted by World War II, during which time he served in the U.S. Navy (1943-45), receiving an honorable discharge on December 18, 1945. Upon his return to Chicago he earned diplomas in electricity and radio-electronics at Coyne Electrical School and, taking advantage of the Veteran's Training Program, obtained his high school diploma from Crane Technical High School in January, 1950.

On November 2, 1950, he entered the novitiate for cooperator brothers at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, River Forest, Illinois, was given the religious name, Paul, and made his first profession of vows on November 3, 1951. He was assigned to maintenance at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory, a ministry which he continued there for twenty-seven years. Brother Paul professed his solemn vows on November 3, 1957. His interest in electronics served as a hobby as well as ministry and he earned additional certificates in this field from the De Vry Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois.

In 1978 Brother Paul was transferred to St. Thomas More Center, Tucson, Arizona, where he joined the staff of the student center. A year later he returned to Chicago and joined the maintenance staff of St. Pius V Priory, a ministry which he continued until 1995 when he was placed on limited service. He continued to reside at the Priory until November of 1999 when his health needs required his transfer to Resurrection Life Center in Chicago, where he resided until his death. During the last year of his life his health continued to decline and on February 17, 2003, he died at Resurrection Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. His funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Pius V Church, Chicago, on February 21st and he was buried in the Dominican Plot, All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.



Raymond George Ashenbrenner was born on April 25, 1924, in Milladore, Wisconsin, Illinois, being the youngest of the nine children of Ignatz Ashenbrenner and Mary Hoffmann. His early education was at Mayflower Public School, Milladore, Wisconsin, and St. Killian's School, Blenker, Wisconsin. He attended high school (1938-42) and two years of college (1942-44) at St. Lawrence College, Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, a school run by the Capuchin Fathers.

On June 24, 1944, Raymond entered the Dominican novitiate at St. Thomas Aquinas, River Forest, Illinois, and was given the religious name Nicholas. He made his first profession of vows there on June 25, 1945 and pursued his philosophical studies (1945-48) at the Pontifical Faculty of Philosophy which was located at the Priory, earning first a bachelor's degree in philosophy and then the licentiate degree. After professing his solemn vows there on June 25, 1948, he began his theological studies (1948-51) at St. Thomas Aquinas Priory and completed them at St. Rose of Lima Priory, Dubuque, Iowa (1951-52), earning a Lectorate in theology. Bishop William E. Cousins, auxiliary of Chicago, ordained him a priest at St. Pius V Church, Chicago, Illinois, on June 1, 1951.

Father Ashenbrenner's first assignment, which was to last for twenty-five years (1952-77), was to teach at Fenwick High School, Oak Park, Illinois, where he introduced numerous students to the German language. After a distinguished teaching career as a secondary school teacher, he attended the Clergy Renewal Program at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, and then was assigned to be chaplain at the Dominican Sisters' Motherhouse, Sinsinawa, Wisconsin (1978-80). Desiring to engage in parochial ministry he labored for the next eight years in the Diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, first at St. Philip Parish, Bemidji (1980-81), then at St. Joseph Parish, Middle River (1981-82), and finally as chaplain at Villa St. Vincent in Crookston (1982-88). Because of heart by-pass surgery and other health problems it was deemed best for him to assume a less strenuous ministry and he was assigned to the staff of the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus, Chicago, Illinois (1988-92), during which time he served also as part-time chaplain at St. Anthony Hospital, Chicago.

In 1992 Father Ashenbrenner took up chaplain duties at St. Joseph Home, Watertown, Wisconsin, a home for the aged, where he ministered for seven years. In 1999 he moved to Janesville, Wisconsin, where he continued a similar ministry at St. Elizabeth Home. In the early fall of 2000, he suffered kidney failure and was required to undergo kidney dialysis three times a week to remain alive. For a time there was hope that the kidneys might begin to function again, however, this turned out not to be the case. In October, 2000, he was moved to Resurrection Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Park Ridge, Illinois, and in February, 2001, he moved to Resurrection Life Center, Chicago, Illinois, where he resided until his death. All during this time dialysis was a necessity for survival. In February 2003 it was determined that heart by-pass surgery would again be necessary, a procedure which Father Ashenbrenner declined. It was at this time that he decided also to decline continued dialysis treatment. Shortly after noon on February 20th he died at Resurrection Hospital. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Pius V Church, Chicago, Illinois, on February 24, 2003, and burial followed in the Dominican Plot of All Saints Cemetery, Des Plaines, Illinois.