Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Rev. Francis Gerard Dobrzenski

MARQUETTE, Mich. - Rev. Francis Gerard Dobrzenski, age 73, died on Pentecost Sunday, May 28, 2023, at the Trillium House in Marquette, after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

He was born Jan. 16, 1950, in Stambaugh, to William John and Celia (Brozak) Dobrzenski. He attended St. Agnes Catholic Grade School in Iron River, and after discerning a call to the priesthood attended St. Lawrence Seminary in Mount Calvary, Wisconsin, for high school. In 1969, He attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Oneida, Wisconsin, and St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin, where he earned bachelor's degree. In 1972, he attended St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, where he earned a Master of Divinity degree.

Father Francis was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1977, at his home parish of St. Agnes in Iron River, by the Most Rev. Charles A. Salatka. His parish assignments included associate pastor at St. Patrick in Escanaba and St. George in Bark River, as well as St. Mary-St. Joseph in Iron Mountain. He was pastor of several parishes including Sacred Heart in Ewen, the Mission of St. Francis in Sidnaw, Immaculate Conception in Watersmeet, St. Joseph/St. Patrick in Escanaba, St. Joseph in Lake Linden, St. Cecilia in Hubbell, and Holy Family in Flat Rock. He also served as temporary administrator of several parishes as the need arose.

In 1981, he studied Canon Law at the Graduate House of Studies at the North American College in Rome, Italy. In 1982, he studied Canon Law at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. After his studies, he served in many capacities in the Diocesan Tribunal.

He also served on many diocesan boards and at one time was the dean of the Ironwood Deanery.

In 1999, he was released to serve at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, as a professor and undergraduate spiritual director. He positively influenced many men as they discerned their vocation to the priesthood. He came back to the diocese on July 1, 2002.

In 2013, he was elected to serve as diocesan administrator of the Diocese of Marquette until a new bishop was appointed and installed on Feb. 11, 2014.

In 2017, he took a brief leave of absence to explore religious life, but returned to the diocese and was appointed as temporary administrator at Holy Family Catholic Church in Gladstone. He was appointed as pastor of Holy Family, later that year and served until he was granted senior priest status on July 1, 2020. In retirement, he resided in Menominee and helped out at the local parishes.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three infant brothers, Billy, Tommy and Thomas; and his three sisters and two brother-in-laws, Mary Kay (Gerald) Niemisto, Therese (Ron) Peterson and Ancele Dobrzenski.

He is survived by his brother, Mark (Robin) Dobrzenski of Oro Valley, Arizona; and several nieces and nephews.

Father Francis was an avid reader and had a great mind and wit. He loved tea and was an incredible cook. He was a devoted parish priest, teacher, mentor, and took great care with the Sacred Liturgy. He will be missed by many.

Visitation was held on Sunday, June 4, from 6 to 7 p.m. followed by a vigil service led by the Very Rev. Brian C. Gerber at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden. There was also visitation on Monday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, June 5, at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Linden, with the Most Rev. Allen H. Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit, presiding. The Most Rev. David J. Walkowiak, Bishop of Grand Rapids, was the homilist. Bishop John F. Doerfler and clergy of the Diocese of Marquette were concelebrants at the Mass.

A luncheon followed in the parish hall. Interment will be held in at Rest Haven Cemetery in Iron River.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the Trillium House in Marquette for their excellent care of Father. They would also like to express their gratitude for everyone who offered any acts of kindness and love to Father, especially prayers in the last weeks.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Trillium House in Marquette.

The Pearce Funeral Home in Lake Linden is assisting with arrangements. Online condolences may be left at

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