Msgr. Joseph R. Schwaegel died July 13 at St. Paul’s Home in Belleville. He was 79.
A graduate of Cathedral High School in Belleville, he received a master’s degree in music from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill. He attended Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Ill.
Ordained in May 1965 by Bishop Albert R. Zuroweste, he was an associate pastor at St. Mary in Trenton and administrator of St. Bernard in Albers for three months, then named a chaplain at the Meredith Home in Belleville for one year. In 1967, he was named a chaplain to the Academy of Notre Dame in Belleville and associate pastor at St. Peter Cathedral.
He served as master of ceremonies and secretary to Bishop Albert Zuroweste from 1966-1976 and continued under Bishop William Cosgrove from 1976-1981, then Bishop James P. Keleher from 1984-1988.
He was named a monsignor in 1976.
In 1984, he was appointed administrator of St. Mary in Belleville and was rector of the cathedral from 1988 until February 1993 when he resigned his position.
Msgr. Schwaegel was placed on administrative leave in 1994 and later retired.
In diocesan work, he was assistant chancellor from 1977-1991 when be was named vice-chancellor. He was preceded in death by his parents Hugo and Edna Sauthoff Schwaegel. Surviving are cousins and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was held July 18 at St. Peter Cathedral with Bishop Stanley Schlarman and priests of the diocese concelebrating.