Reverend Fred E. Trucksis passed away Tuesday evening, May 14, at Hospice House after a brief illness. Fred was born on August 10, 1936, the son of Frederick and Margaret (Hynes) Trucksis. He attended St. Nicholas Elementary School and Struthers High School prior to entering St. Gregory Seminary and Mount St. Mary’s of the West in Cincinnati where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in theology. He also received a master’s degree in education from Xavier University, Cincinnati.
Fred was ordained a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown on May 30, 1964, just at the time when the changes initiated by Vatican II were about to sweep through the Roman Catholic Church. He was assigned to St. Christine Catholic Church, Youngstown, and later that year, because of the unique design of the church, Fred was among the first priests in the U.S. to celebrate Mass facing the people from the main altar. He served at St. Christine for the next four years before moving on to St. Mary’s Parish, Massillon, where he also assumed the duties of Associate Vocation Director of the Diocese.
In 1970, just three weeks after the traumatic events on the campus of Kent State University, Fred accepted the assignment of chaplain at Kent Newman Center. While there, he and Fr. Jim O’Brien developed a thriving Catholic community that eventually required the use of the ballroom of the student center to accommodate the more than one thousand people who attended the Christmas Eve service. He later continued Newman ministry at Kent State’s Trumbull branch.
In 1974, Fred was granted a leave of absence from the diocese to become the director of Project Outreach, a drug counseling center in Warren. He later managed NEO Therapeutic Management Services, Warren, an agency that provided counseling for nursing home residents.
Fr. Trucksis was eventually appointed sacramental minister for St. Peter of the Fields Parish in Rootstown and also served at various parishes on weekends. He assumed his first pastorate at St. Joseph Parish in Warren where, even after retiring, he remained as administrator of the parish until 2011. He then provided weekend help at various parishes, including Our Lady of Perpetual Help, McDonald, and St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church, Niles, until two years ago.
Fred will be remembered for the sense of style that he brought to everything he did as well as for his irrepressible wit and humor. One seldom left Fred’s presence without having had a good laugh. Fred was also famous for his thought-provoking, challenging conversations. He endorsed whole-heartedly the words of St. John Newman: "To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." Fred did not claim to be perfect, but starting at the time of his ordination, he had to change and adapt to many things for which his training had not prepared him. Fred was a lifelong learner, and to the very end, he was reading and exploring and, of course, discussing.
Besides his father and mother, Fred was preceded in death by his sister, Margaret Becker. He leaves his brother, John, Charleston SC, and his sisters Mary Ann Enders, Mars PA, and Caroline Williams, Medina Ohio, along with numerous nieces and nephews and their children. A memorial celebration of Fred’s life is being planned for June 28 at St. Christine Catholic Church at 7:00 p.m.