Sylvester H. Schoening

Schoening Enlargephoto


Sylvester H. Schoening, age 82, known by many as “Father Syl” of Norwood, Colo., died Aug. 29, 2012 at “The Hermitage,” his Norwood home of 20 years. Schoening was born April 1, 1930 to Sylvester Joseph Schoening and Clara Catherine Herrmann in Evansville, Ind.

Schoening attended elementary school at Sacred Heart Catholic School in Evansville and high school at Saint Meinrad Preparatory High School, Saint Meinrad, Ind. He attended Saint Meinrad College, where he earned a BA in liberal arts. He later attended University of Innsbruck in Tyrol, Austria from 1952 to 1956, and earned his Master’s Degree (STL) from University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1957.

Schoening was ordained as a Catholic priest on Aug. 6, 1958. From 1958 through 1967 he served in several parish assignments and taught high school in the Evansville area. In 1967, he transferred to the Diocese of Pueblo, Colo., and was named pastor at the Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Telluride, Colo. in 1969, where he served 12 years, simultaneously serving as pastor at Our Ladies of Sorrows in Nucla, Colo.

From 1981 to 1983 he served as pastor in Cortez at Saint Margaret Mary Parish as well as in Dove Creek at Saint Jude. In 1983, he was given a one year sabbatical after 25 years as a priest, which he spent supervising the building of his home, the Hermitage, outside of Norwood.

From 1985 to 1991, he served as pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Paonia, Colo., as well as Saint Margaret Mary in Hotchkiss, Colo. In 1992, he retired to his home at the Hermitage, where he lived with his family of wolf hybrid dogs, and continued to celebrate Sunday Mass at the Hermitage until his death.

In addition to his commitment as a Christian to the Catholic faith, he had a passion for the mountains and wilderness, particularly the San Juan and San Miguel mountains, wildlife — particularly wolves, and railroads. The kind help of many people made possible days of peace, tranquility, and beauty for Schoening at his Hermitage home.

Schoening will be buried at the Hermitage, which through a conservation easement will continue as a sanctuary for nature and wildlife.

A burial service, presided by Father Jesse Perez of Leadville, Colo. and reception will be held Tuesday, Sept. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Hermitage, 1250 Mountain View Lane, Norwood, Colo. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Hermitage Fund (c/o the Telluride Foundation, PO Box 4222, Telluride, CO 81435). Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Crippin Funeral Home & Crematory, Montrose, Colo.