Brother William Joseph Gaseor, CSC

November 27, 1930 – February 6, 2017

The prayers of the members of the Congregation of Holy Cross are requested for the repose of the soul of Brother William Joseph Gaseor, CSC, a member of the Moreau Province of Brothers and Priests. Born in Chicago, IL, Br. William died in Austin, TX, on February 6, 2017. He was in his 65th year of religious life in the Congregation.

William Francis Gaseor was the sixth of ten children of Joseph and Mary Gaseor of Chicago, Illinois. He was born on November 27, 1930, at the family’s home on Major Avenue in Chicago. At the time he was born the doctor suggested that he be baptized quickly since he did not expect young William would live very long.  William, however, had other plans and lived for more than 86 years. Two days after his birth he was baptized and registered at St. James Church, the family parish, in Chicago. William’s father Joseph was a shipping clerk for a steel company and had been born in Chicago; William’s mother Maria was a Polish immigrant and homemaker.

William went to elementary school at St. James Parish where he was also confirmed. After elementary school he went to Holy Trinity High School where he first met the Brothers of Holy Cross. He worked at a grocery store and as a stock boy for a hardware company in order to help pay the high school tuition. After graduation from Holy Trinity in 1949 he continued with the hardware company but he had been promoted to office tasks.

After a year of work he decided he wanted to join the Dominicans and went for an interview with them. He was told to come back in another year and they would talk again; he was crestfallen. He said his mother suggested the Brothers of Holy Cross to him since they knew him already. In September of 1950 he was admitted to the postulancy at Sacred Heart College in Watertown, Wisconsin. William entered the novitiate on February 1, 1951 and made his first profession there a year later on February 2, 1952.  He made his perpetual vows at Sacred Heart Church on the University of Notre Dame campus on August 16, 1956.

After his novitiate he stayed at Rolling Prairie to learn tailoring skills from Brother Francis Jerome. He was then assigned to Columba Hall for a short time and then to Notre Dame Camp for the summer where he helped out in the kitchen. He was then assigned to Dujarie Hall to work with Brother John Chrysostom in cooking. He said Brother John Chrysostom was a wonderful instructor.

Brother William learned to drive while at Columba Hall and then went on a series of assignments in food service: Vincent Hall at St. Edward’s University; Notre Dame High School Biloxi, Mississippi; St. Joseph Farm in Granger, Indiana; Moreau High School in Hayward, California; Provincial Residence in Austin, Texas; bakery services at Holy Cross New Orleans; Holy Cross of San Antonio Cafeteria Service.  He returned to St. Joseph Farm for three years and came back to Holy Cross in San Antonio. In 1989 he did volunteer work with the hospice program at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio which prepared him for spending 1991-1992 with his mother in Chicago as her life ended.

In 1992 he returned to Austin where he helped in the assisted living program at St. Joseph Hall. In 2013, he retired for the last several years of his life at the Brother Vincent Pieau Residence in Austin.

In January, 2017, he began suffering from leg pain resulting from blockages. He passed away on the early morning of February 6, 2017.

Br. Donald Blauvelt, CSC

At The Heart of Community Life

There is much that could be said of Brother William. He seemed to have had the belief that the kitchen and dining room were at the heart of community life. He was also part of that fraternity among cooks in the former South-West Province. He cared about the people he lived with more than they probably ever knew he did. He would share his concerns about his Brothers at the time of provincial visits, not as complaints, but as true care for them.

He would express his gratitude to those who helped the Brothers in the best way he knew how: with  cookies or tiny tarts or other baked goods. He remembered being told once by Brother Ephrem: “Don’t expect to be thanked as a cook; if they like the meals you prepare for them take that as the greatest thanks you will get.”  Whenever someone enjoyed one of his meals or pastries, we were thanking him and probably didn’t even realize this.

Brother William spent a lot of time in chapel talking with the Lord. We have a pretty good idea that he is now talking with the Lord and others in heaven. There is probably much recipe exchange and probably sharing of concerns about each of us.

The most amazing conclusion I come to in reflecting on the life of Brother William Gaseor is the metaphor he is for God’s will in the world. The man who wasn’t expected to live spent more than 85 years nourishing us and others physically and spiritually; we got food for our bodies and our souls and the act of accepting it was an act of thanks to Brother William. The man who wasn’t expected to live spent the last portion of his life helping his brothers and others to move towards their own deaths in his work with assisted living. The man who wasn’t to be a teacher spent his life teaching all of us so many things and did the same in various schools.

No matter what our age, no matter what we are doing, we don’t always understand that we are but a simple tool of the Lord in the lives of others as Blessed Basil Moreau put it. Brother William Gaseor was such a simple tool in the lives of many.

– Eulogy delivered by Brother Donald Blauvelt, CSC.
Chapel of Brother Vincent Pieau, Austin, TX
February 10, 2017

He Found His Mission

My uncle was 25 when I was born, so he was already Br. Bill, and that’s how we all knew him as we grew up in our family. He grew up with a relatively large flock out of Chicago. There were, I believe, seven brothers and three sisters in the Near North Side of Chicago.

What an interesting life he had. Born in 1930, right after the big Crash, he grew up as a little child in the Depression days, and when he was 12 years old, there was a World War.

I remember him sharing his story when he came over once. When he was 20 – 21, he really had his mind set on wanting to enter a religious order, but he was too young. But, he said, he had found his mission. And that established his life.

We are sort of ambassadors of our family here at these services. Br. William is survived by three of his biological brothers; Val, Chester, and Bernard, who live in Chicago and Southern Illinois, and Mary, who is in Florida. For various health reasons, they are unable to attend. Mary just had open heart surgery and was in rehab. She wants to make the drive over to see the grave site and to see some of you at that time. So, on behalf of those in Chicago and many cousins in our large family, we extend our thanks for being a really great community and also for the beautiful service today.

The only other thing I can say about Uncle William is that, yes, he made fabulous cookies and fudge and what-nots – he was a master at these things, but he had such a gentle way about him, and we always saw his life as a great example.
Again, thanks on behalf of our family and thanks for all the wonderful brotherhood and kinship you’ve given him and I am pretty sure he’s happy.

– Reflections by Tom Gaseor, nephew
Chapel of Brother Vincent Pieau, Austin, TX

Brother William Joseph Gaseor, CSC served the Lord faithfully in the following ministries:

  • 1951-1952 Novice, St. Joseph Novitiate, Rolling Prairie, IN
  • 1952-1953 Tailor, St. Joseph Novitiate, Rolling Prairie, IN
  • 1953-1953 Housekeeper, Columba Hall, Notre Dame, IN

Cook / Food Service

  • 1953-1953 Notre Dame Camp, Notre Dame, IN
  • 1953-1954 Dujarie Hall Scholasticate, Notre Dame, IN
  • 1954-1958 Vincent Hall Scholasticate, Austin, TX
  • 1958-1961 Notre Dame High School, Biloxi, MS
  • 1961-1966 St. Joseph Farm, Granger, IN
  • 1966-1970 Moreau High School, Hayward, CA
  • 1970-1973 Provincial House, Austin, TX
  • 1973-1974 Bakery, Holy Cross School, New Orleans, LA
  • 1974-1980 Holy Cross HS, San Antonio, TX
  • 1980-1983 St. Joseph Farm, Granger, IN
  • 1983-1989 Holy Cross HS, San Antonio, TX
  • 1989-1990 Hospice Program, Santa Rosa Hospital, San Antonio, TX
  • 1990-1991 Assisted Living Coordinator, HC Community, New Orleans, LA
  • 1991-1992 Family Ministry, Chicago, IL

Assisted Living Services

  • 1992-2013 St. Joseph Hall, Austin, TX
  • 2013-2017 Resident, Br. Vincent Pieau Residence, Austin, TX