The Rev. Robert Rezac, regional superior of the Consolata Missionaries, died unexpectedly Monday in Erie County Medical Center. He was 76.
Born and raised in Cleveland, he worked at the Ford Stamping Plant there before serving three years in the Army.
He earned his bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. John's College in Minnesota, then completed his theological studies at Consolata Seminary in Somerset, N.J. He was ordained into the priesthood on June 11, 1977, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Cleveland.
He served as his congregation's vocation director and led promotional activities for its missions in South America and East Africa for 23 years. He served on a missionary assignment in Kenya from 1990 to 2000 and returned 10 years later for the ordination of a young man he had mentored there.
He served as director of the Consolata mission programs and frequently celebrated Mass in local parishes and religious residences. The Rev. John Reuther, a close associate, noted that devotion to the Virgin Mary was a central part of his life.
Surviving is a sister, Mary Butkovic.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday in St. Pius X Catholic Church, 1700 North French Road, Getzville.