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Rev. Robert Levenhagen


The Rev. Robert J. Levenhagen, 89, passed away Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, at Stonehill Franciscan Care Center in Dubuque. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 30, at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 405 S. East St., Monona. Archbishop Michael Jackels will officiate with Msgr. John McClean as homilist. A visitation will be held at the church from 9 to 11 a.m. before the Mass. Burial will be in the St. Patrick's Church Cemetery. Friends may call at Hoffmann Schneider & Kitchen Funeral Home, 3860 Asbury Rd., Dubuque, from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday. There will be a service at 7 p.m.
Father Bob was born March 16, 1929, on the family farm near Monona, Iowa, the son of Paul and Julia (Scannell) Levenhagen. He received his early education in a country school. He graduated from Monona High School in 1948, and from Loras College in 1952, after which he went on to theological studies. He attended Mount St. Bernard Seminary in Dubuque and was ordained Feb. 2, 1957. He also earned a master's degree from Catholic University.
His first assignment as a priest was to St. Martin's in Cascade where, from 1957 to 1962, he served as the associate pastor, taught high school classes and coached basketball and baseball. He was the associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in New Albin and also a faculty member at St. George High School in Lansing from 1962 to 1967. He was the associate pastor at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Ossian, where he also was the principal of De Sales Central High School from 1967 to 1969. He was the pastor of St. Francis Parish in Balltown and a faculty member at Leo High School in Holy Cross from 1969 to 1971. While there, he began a friendship with the Breitbach family that lasted for the rest of his life. Breitbach's in Balltown was his favorite place to eat.
He served as chaplain to the Christian Brothers community at Beckman High School in Dyersville from 1971 to 1972, where he also was on the faculty. Next, he returned to Leo High School in Holy Cross as the principal from 1972 to 1975. From 1975 to 1980, he was the pastor of St. Ann-St. Joseph Parish in Harpers Ferry and Immaculate Conception Parish in Wexford. He was the pastor at St. Anthony Parish in Dubuque from 1980 to 1987, at St. John the Baptist Parish in Peosta and Annunciation Parish in Lattnerville from 1987 to 1990, at Holy Family Parish in New Melleray from 1989 to 1990, at St. Pius Parish in Cherry Mound from 1990 to 1999, and at St. Mary Parish in McGregor from 1990 until his retirement in 2000.
Father Bob loved the Mississippi River. After his retirement, he lived for several years on the riverfront in Brownsville, Minn., before moving back to Dubuque. As a young man, he borrowed a little money and built himself a cabin in Lansing. Later, he sold it and pooled his resources with two friends, so they could purchase a piece of riverfront property at Lansing, where they built a cabin. A few years later, they were able to sell the cabin at a profit, which enabled Father Bob to move on over the years into a series other riverfront cabins, which he improved or built, and sold as his assignments changed. He had many friends, whom he loved to entertain and take out on the river in his pontoon boat. His last and best "cabin" was his home in Brownsville, where his friends would gather to see the tundra swans' annual migration and enjoy the beauty of the river. Father Bob took many glorious sunrise and riverscape photos from his home in Brownsville, sharing the photos with friends and family by email. He especially enjoyed seeing the paddlewheel riverboats, such as the Julia Belle Swain.
Father Bob also loved animals and after his dogs, Queenie and Lady, had passed away, he took in a feral kitten. He named Miss Kitty after Amanda Blake's character in his favorite TV show, "Gunsmoke." Father Bob loved poetry and classical music, and he was a prodigious reader. He will be remembered for his fun- loving spirit, his wicked wit, his fine intellect and his generosity to his friends.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Lou Thompson of Monona; his brother-in-law, William Petermeier; several nieces, nephews and friends; and Miss Kitty.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Anna Mae Petermeier; his sisters and their spouses, Frances and Billy Apfel and Betty Jean and Alan Lawson; his brother, James Levenhagen; and his brother-in-law, Virgil Thompson.
His family and friends would like to thank the staff at Stonehill who took wonderful care of Father Bob and at Hospice of Dubuque, especially Shirley, Cindy, Amy, Tracy, Melanie, and Megan for their kindness and care. His family would also like to thank his friends, Joe, Paula and Joan.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.hskfh.com.