A Life Remembered | Devotion, with an eye for history

A Life Remembered | Devotion, with an eye for history

DANVILLE — Friends, family and Catholic parishioners are mourning the passing of retired Rev. John Flattery, who served churches in Champaign and his hometown of Danville after 28 years as a chaplain in the military.

The Rev. Flattery, 88, grew up in Danville's Rabbittown neighborhood, and after the eighth grade, he went on to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio for four years of high school and four more years of college, according to his cousin, Fred Faulstich.

Faulstich is a parishioner at Danville's Holy Family Church, where the Rev. Flattery was named pastor in 1989. Three years later, he took over the same role at St. Matthew in Champaign.

"Father was definitely very much loved and was a very spiritual man, and he represented our church very well and was well-respected. ... He is going to be missed," Faulstich said.

The pastor's body was found last week outside his Lake Vermilion house in Danville, according to the Vermilion County Coroner's Office. Faulstich said his cousin's health had been declining in the last year.

The Rev. Flattery was ordained in 1955. A few years after his first assignment as a priest, he asked the bishop if he could join the military as a chaplain in the Air Force, his cousin said.

His military career took him to bases all over the world, including Turkey, where he received the title of Canon.

"He was always very proud of that moment," Faulstich said.

The Rev. Flattery was a big fan of history and anything to do with the arts.

He wrote a book on the history of Danville's former St. Joseph and St. Patrick parishes, which merged to become Holy Family, and was a frequent presenter at History Day for the Leadership Danville classes sponsored by Vermilion Advantage. Faulstich said his cousin was in the process of finishing another book about the history of Rabbittown.

"He had a very strong sense of wanting to promote anything with history," he said. "He was very personable, very easy and approachable and of good cheer."

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