Monsignor Basil A. Ormsby Dies: Benefactor of Catholic Education
June 16, 1997
Monsignor Basil A. Ormsby, a much-honored Catholic clergyman who served nine Western New York parishes during his career, died Saturday (June 14, 1997) in Our Lady of Victory Hospital, Lackawanna, after an illness of several months.
Monsignor Ormsby, who died three days after his 85th birthday, had been living in the Town of Boston since his retirement as pastor of St. Teresa's Church in South Buffalo in 1987.
His honors included The Buffalo News Citizen of the Year award in 1982, honorary doctorates from Niagara University in 1982 and Canisius College in 1987, and the President's Medal, Niagara University's highest honor, in 1988.
He was known for his work on behalf of Catholic education and was a benefactor of St. Francis High School in Athol Springs, Stella Niagara Education Park in Lewiston and Niagara University, where he established a scholarship fund in his name in 1992. He also served for many years as president of the St. Patrick's Scholarship Fund, which sends local students to study in Ireland.
He was born in Niagara Falls, where he graduated from the former St. Mary's High School.
After graduating from Niagara University and studying at the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels at Niagara University, he was ordained a diocesan priest on May 30, 1942.
His first year as a priest was spent in the Buffalo Missionary Apostolate, which provided priests to say Mass at several small parishes, primarily south of Buffalo. In 1943, he was assigned to Holy Trinity Church in Dunkirk as assistant pastor.
He held the same title at eight other parishes. He was assigned to St. Teresa's, Niagara Falls, in 1944; St. Aloysius in Buffalo in 1946; Our Lady Help of Christians, Cheektowaga, in 1949; St. Vincent's in Buffalo in 1950; and Our Lady of the Rosary, Niagara Falls, in 1951, where he assisted his brother, the late Monsignor J. Stanly Ormsby.
He moved on to other assistant pastorates: Blessed Trinity, Buffalo, in 1952; Ascension, North Tonawanda, in 1956; and finally St. Teresa's, South Buffalo, in 1957.
After a dozen years as assistant pastor there, he succeeded Monsignor Leo Toomey as pastor in 1969 and remained there until his retirement in 1987.
He was appointed a monsignor in 1988 and was named an affiliate of the Vincentian Community, which sponsors Niagara University, a year later.
Niagara honored Monsignor Ormsby several times during his career for his generosity and his assistance in fund-raising.
He was also a member of the board of trustees of Canisius College from 1981 to 1984.
Survivors include three brothers, Louis J. of Lewiston, Linus L. Sr. of Youngstown and Justin R. of El Paso, Texas.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered by Bishop Henry J. Mansell at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Alumni Chapel on the Niagara University campus in Lewiston. Burial will be in Stella Niagara Cemetery, Lewiston.