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Fr. Walter Bly

Rest In Peace, Fr. Bly

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Fr. Walter J. Bly, a beloved member of the Saint Joe community and a dedicated servant of the Lord. Fr. Bly passed away at 8:45 p.m. on Thursday, January 26 at Dujarie House at Holy Cross Village at the age of 90.

For over half a century, Fr. Bly was an integral part of Saint Joe, leaving a lasting legacy on the lives of countless students and fellow faculty members. 

Principal Kennedy shared, “Fr. Bly had a deep love and a lifelong commitment to Saint Joseph High School and the Catholic Church. Through his teaching, coaching, and ministry, he helped shape many young people's lives - especially the young men that played for his beloved Saint Joe Football Team. He was a fixture here for over 50 years and will be deeply missed.”

Fr. Bly began his tenure at Saint Joe in 1968, where he served as a theology teacher and freshman football coach. For fifteen years, Fr. Bly coached the freshman team, including one undefeated season. Fr. Bly was a key member of the coaching staff for the Saint Joseph Class 3A 1995 State Championship team under Coach Frank Amato, and supported the squad alongside Coach Phil Teegarden during an impressive three-year run as an undefeated team. Including the two years Fr. Bly coached the freshmen at Fr. Wayne's Bishop Dwenger, his career record as a coach was 90-26. Fr. Bly was inducted into the Indiana Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2003.

After retiring from coaching, Fr. Bly continued to serve as the football chaplain, for a total of 37 years. In 2012, Saint Joseph High School named Father Bly Field at Leighton Stadium after the legendary coach and beloved chaplain. Fr. Bly continued to watch games from the sidelines and visit with students and staff well into his retirement. His impact on the lives of those around him was immeasurable, and his contributions to Saint Joe will not be forgotten.

Head football coach Ben Downey,'96 shared, "There was a mystique about and reverence for Fr. Bly that began when freshmen first met him and continued well into adulthood. He had a special bond with and impact on members of the Saint Joe football team through the years, so much so that former players, whether they're in their 20's, 60's, or somewhere in between will be heartbroken about his passing, yet eternally grateful for the opportunity to learn from a man who was so good, so humorous, and so wise."

Fr. Bly's dedication passion, and commitment to his faith, his teams, and the mission of Saint Joseph High School will live on through the countless lives he inspired throughout his service as theology teacher, school chaplain, and coach. 

Says Director of Pastoral Ministry, Christine Baglow, “Saint Joe is a remarkable and transformative institution because of remarkable and transformative influences like Fr. Bly.”

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.