Saturday, Sep 22, 2018
11:00 AM-12:00 PM
March 16, 1942 - September 15, 2018
Rev. Dr. John Pelletier, Pastor Emeritus
Rev. Dr. John B. Pelletier, 76, of Watertown passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 15, 2018 surrounded by family at St. Mary’s Hospital.
John was born on March 16, 1942 in Bristol, CT, son of the late John and Violet (Blais) Pelletier.
John attended St. Ann’s Parochial School in Bristol, where he was a favorite of the nuns. At age 13, after receiving scholarships to numerous schools throughout the world, he entered St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield and began his preparation for the priesthood. He graduated from St. Thomas with an Associate Degree and was sent by the Archbishop to St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore, MD. At the end of his 6 years there, he had earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and his Master’s Degree in Theology. He was ordained as a Priest in 1968. The focus of his ministry was always to help individuals find God in their own way and develop their own spirituality.
Over the years John had many assignments including Washington Depot; St. Anne’s Church in Waterbury; Sacred Heart Academy for Girls in Hamden; Our Lady of Fatima in Wallingford and finally St. George’s Church in Guilford. While serving at Sacred Heart Academy he earned his Doctorate Degree from the University of California, Berkley. In many ways he was ahead of his time and was a progressive church leader. He wrote more inclusive prayers, had lay readers participate in the Mass, preached from the aisles rather than the pulpit, redesigned the traditional Lenten services and redesigned the religious education program. John’s progressive ideas were continually at odds with the traditional practices of the Catholic Church. Eventually he left the priesthood and opened a family therapy practice in North Branford.
On December 29, 1989 John married Louise Niesobecki. Shortly after he became a UCC minister and was called to the North Madison Congregational Church as their pastor. When he arrived the church had 30 members. When he retired 15 years later the church had grown to over 500 members. North Madison was a place where John’s creativity could flourish. The church welcomed his spirit, his energy, and his ideas.
In 2010 John retired and moved with Louise to Watertown. Within a couple of months, after doing pulpit supply in Bethlehem, he was called as the part time Pastor of First Church of Bethlehem. Again, his loving spirit, kindness and spirituality were blessings to that church family.
John was also an accomplished artist and graduated from Paier School of Art while he was a priest at St. Anne’s Church. His portfolio includes many paintings and photographs. John was on the Board of Directors of the Watertown Old Farms Condo Association and a member of the UCC.
Besides his wife Louise of 28 years; John leaves behind to cherish his memory, his stepsons, Paul Niesobecki and his wife Ann Marie of Middlebury, Mark Niesobecki of Waterbury and his three adored grandchildren, Stephen Niesobecki of Beijing, China, Claire Niesobecki of Middlebury and Samuel Niesobecki of Naugatuck. He is also survived by his sister, Jean Pelletier of Farmington; his sister Phyllis Fienemann and her husband Walter of Burlington as well as several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Janet.
The family would like to thank St. Mary’s Hospital’s CCU and VITAS Doctors and nurses for their exemplary care and support for John and his family.
Arrangements: A funeral service will be held for John on Saturday, September 22nd, 11:00am at the First Congregational Church of Watertown. A memorial service will also be held at First Church of Bethlehem at a date to be determined. There will be no calling hours. Burial will be private at the convenience of the family. Chase Parkway Memorial, The Albini Family Funeral Home, 430 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, has been entrusted with handling John’s arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in John’s memory to:
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place
Memphis, TN 38105
First Church of Bethlehem, UCC
21 Main Street South
Bethlehem, CT 06751