Father John L. Sostrich
Father John L. Sostrich, Commander, U.S. Navy chaplain, died Sept 20, 2019. He was living at the Woodlands Assisted Living facility in Eastland, Texas.
Funeral Masses are being held at 10 a.m. Oct. 5 in Strawn, Texas, Carlsbad, New Mexico, and San Diego, California. Burial will be in San Diego at the Holy Cross Cemetery on November 14. A rosary will be held at 7 p.m. in Cisco Holy Rosary Catholic Church.
Father John was born on March 8, 1930, in Strawn, Texas. After graduation from high school in Carlsbad, N.M., he joined the U.S. Navy and served on the USS Caloosahatchee AOE 98 and in Guam from 1949 through 1952, during the Korean War.
After his military service he worked two years in the underground potash mines in Carlsbad. At that point he was called to become a Catholic priest. He completed his undergraduate studies at St. Francis Seminary, receiving a BA. He then completed his priestly studies at Immaculate Heart Seminary and was ordained in March of 1962 in San Diego. Father John completed assignments in churches in El Centro, Lemon Grove and San Diego. In 1968 he was granted leave to serve in the U.S. Navy Chaplain Corp. He served:
- 1968 through 1969 service in Vietnam.
- 1969 through 1971 served at a Moroccan NATO base.
- 1971 through 1973 served at coast guard station cape May New Jersey.
- 1973 to 1974 the ship's chaplain aboard the USS Seattle AOE 3 fast combat support ship.
- 1974 to 1977 served as base chaplain at Norfolk Virginia naval operations Base.
- 1977 to 1980 served at Okinawa Japan naval Base chaplain.
- 1980 to 1984 served as chaplain at the Pearl Harbor naval base in Honolulu, Hawaii.
He retired in 1984 from the United States Navy at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station. His kind words and gentle spirit was most welcomed by those in combat.
Father John lived in many places, as he loved to roam! From 1984 through 1996 he lived near Hilo, Hawaii, area on the big island. From 1996 to 2008 Father John lived in Hollywood, Florida. And from 2008 to 2019 Father John lived between Texas and California. During his time in these areas Father John served Parishes in each area. And as he moved from town to town, he traveled light. His possessions usually fit in a couple of boxes. Father John was such a kind and giving man that many in his parishes helped him furnish his humble surroundings.
He also loved family. In the 1990s he took a trip to Croatia to discover the Sostrich family's roots. And on that trip, through contacts in the Catholic Church, Father John found the town where his father, Mickey P. Sostrich, was born and raised - Glina, Croatia, just south of Zagreb. Mickey P. Sostrich came to the U.S. via Ellis Island in 1906. For many years Father John corresponded with some of the relatives he met while in Croatia.
He is survived by nephew, Bill Sostrich; niece, Virginia Moon; niece, Janet Dugas; nephew, Eddy Wales; nephew, Gary Wales, and their families.
He is preceded in death by his father, Mickey P. Sostrich, and his mother, Eva E. Sostrich; two brothers, George W. and Mickey J.; one sister, Evelyn; and one nephew Paul Wales.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to the Catholic Relief Services, crs.org.
Published on September 26, 2019

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