A lifetime of faith and service
Six Decades of Love, Family and Community Lead Couple to Create Legacy Continuing Lifetime of Faith and Service
Almost six decades after their marriage, and still living in the West Side Cincinnati home in which they raised their children, Bill and Dorothy Harmeyer remain committed to what has become the family motto, “Keep the faith and pass it on.”
“We have five children, they’re all married, and fourteen grandchildren. They all kept the Catholic faith so, we’ve been blessed in many ways,” Bill said when asked about the charitable gift annuity he and Dorothy recently established with the Province of St. John the Baptist. “We feel obligated to give back to the Lord. We have some annuities with other institutions and thought, well, that would be nice to do with the Franciscans.”
Describing her personal history with the Franciscans, Dorothy shared, “I grew up in Maysville and went to Catholic School where there were Franciscan nuns. They were kind and patient and were excellent teachers, I thought. We learned a lot from them. I went on to college at Mount St. Joseph founded by the Sisters of Charity, so that’s how I got started with the Franciscans.”
Talking about his own history with the Franciscans, Bill said, “I went to high school within the seminary for three years. Father Bill Reichel, who was in the seminary then, left for the secular priesthood. He was a wonderful priest. That was my early connection with the Franciscans.”
“And I’m really devoted to Saint Anthony,” Dorothy added. “He’s helped us through a lot of difficult times, so I guess that’s the reason we felt close to him.”
Seeking to be of service to others, Bill and Dorothy served on the Marriage Preparation team for Our Lady of Victory Parish for twenty-eight years. “The Catholic Church has a requirement that couples take a prenuptial questionnaire before they are married. They would come to our house first and two weeks later we would discuss the results with them. Then they would meet with the priest who was going to marry them,” Bill stated.
Looking back on this experience, Dorothy said, “We worked with 59 couples and were fortunate to be a part of it. I think the result of it is if couples tell the truth, are open and honest, it helps their marriage a lot. We had one couple who found out they weren’t meant for each other and broke it off, and they had everything ready, too. So, it does help. Helps them clarify things.”
In addition to his long service with Dorothy on the Parish Marriage Preparation team, Bill has served as a Eucharistic Minister at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati for twenty-three years. “I had a heart bypass back in 1993 and when those things happen to you, you start wondering where you’ve been and what you have done for God,” Bill shared. “A Eucharistic Minister would come around and distribute Holy Communion, and I thought that looked like a pretty good ministry to do. Father Simeon Cleves was the Chaplain at the time. I did every Monday for 22 years and now it’s twice a month. There are usually 25-35 Catholic patients to visit, so it takes a little while. But, it is a real blessing.”
For Bill and Dorothy, “passing it on” also means helping future generations. “Our kids went to Archbishop Elder and Saint Elizabeth Seton High Schools. As I said before, we’ve been blessed with fourteen grandchildren, and all have kept the faith. You know how expensive Catholic high schools are. We help the grandchildren through the parents to help pay some of their tuition,” Bill said.
With their children and many of their grandchildren living nearby, Bill and Dorothy continue to enjoy their home of 44 years and time spent with family and friends sharing their faith, love, fellowship and good humor.
The Province of St. John the Baptist is honored to list Bill and Dorothy Harmeyer as members of the St. Anthony Legacy Circle. For more information about the St. Anthony Legacy Circle, or about ways to support the Franciscans through your will or trust, contact Colleen Cushard at email@example.com or 513-721-4700.