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Longtime permanent deacon led a fruitful life of ministry

Deacon Ron Ansay passed away Feb. 25 at the Plaza Gardens where he was staying during his illness.  He was 87 years old.  Deacon Ansay was in the first ordination class of deacons in Denver after the reinstitution of the diaconate as a Permanent Order within the ranks of the clergy. He was the last remaining deacon from his particular ordination class.

Ronald John Ansay was born on the Feast of Deacon St. Lawrence, Aug. 10, 1932, to devout Catholic parents, Aloys and Marianne Ansay in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His parents sent him to Catholic schools in Milwaukee and he later worked with his father in a linen supply.  He was also in the Navy Reserves from 1950 to 1954 during the Korean War.

On Aug. 13, 1955, he married Clara (Dolly) Emma Pohs at Holy Family Parish in Denver. Father Arthur Verdieck presided at the marriage sacrament and was the one who introduced the couple to each other. The couple went back to Wisconsin for a couple of years and after their first son was born, they packed up and moved back to Denver.  The couple was blessed with eight children in all; Christopher, Karen, Jeanne, Julie, Geraldine, Joseph, Renee, and Matthew. There are also 31 grandchildren and 47 great grandchildren in the family.

Ron’s magnetic personality was designed by God for engaging with others. As a businessman, he worked in sales and began a few small startup companies. In 1960, he launched Ronald Ansay Interiors which blossomed into a wonderful real estate career with The Kentwood Company. Equipped with eight acres of land, including farm animals and an aviary of 200 canaries, Deacon Ansay, his beloved wife, Dolly, and their children would support troubled youth and help them get back on track. He also worked with the migrant community, which incited his call to begin formation into the diaconate.

He was ordained a deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver by Archbishop James Casey at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on April 6, 1974.  Through his diaconate, he served at St. Catherine of Siena, Holy Family, St. Mary’s in Aspen, Risen Christ, St. Thomas More and St. Vincent de Paul parishes.  After retirement, in 1992, he continued to minister at Heather Gardens and at Garden Plaza both in Aurora.

Deacon Ansay was very involved in the retreat centers around the state.  At the Trappist Monastery in Snowmass and the Sacred Heart Retreat House in Sedalia, he would conduct Bible Studies and lead retreats.  In the 1990’s, he was the host of local EWTN TV Sunday evening show on the inner spiritual life called “The Inside Passage with Deacon Ron Ansay.” He often gave spiritual direction to many of the faithful in the Catholic community.   

“Deacon Ron was universally loved and well respected by his brother clergy and by all those he encountered,” said Deacon Joseph Donohoe, Director of Deacon Personnel. “His brother deacons will always remember him as a very spiritual person deeply in love with God.” 

His Funeral Vigil was held at Risen Christ Catholic Church on  March 5, and his Funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila at Risen Christ Catholic Church on March 6. He was interred at Mt. Olivet Cemetery on March 7.

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