Conrad Thomas Gromada
CONRAD THOMAS GROMADA, of Twinsburg. Professor of Theology at Ursuline College; former diocesan priest of the Youngstown Diocese. Beloved husband of Annette (nee Novicky) since 1987; son of the late Jean (nee Puskarcik) and Joseph; dear brother of Joseph and Henry; cherished uncle of many. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday July 6, 11:30AM at Church of the Resurrection, 32001 Cannon Rd., Solon, where family will visit with friends FROM 10AM until time of Mass Saturday. Interment All Saints Cemetery.
Obituary for Conrad Gromada
How did a man that we came to know as a representative of Jesus Christ come to be, – to walk among us? Those who were privileged to encounter him and get to know him were aware that he was “just a man – a human being – like the rest of us.” But, somehow, he found ways to inspire many of us to become better than we thought we ever could be – to transcend barriers that might otherwise limit or even intimidate many of us.
His life’s story began on January 18, 1939, in a small, rented apartment on the Southside of Youngstown, OH. His birth was unexpected in that he was premature. The only ones present at his birth were his mother, Jean [nee Puskarcik], and his father Joseph. They were surprised and overwhelmed by his arrival as a dangerously (for that time) underweight “preemie”. But, somehow they found a way to welcome him into the world, to protect and nurture him; and, his survival came to benefit the world beyond their wildest expectations.
Conrad was joined less than two years later, in 1940, by his brother Henry; and then “Little Joe” in 1948. Starting first grade at St. Patrick’s Parochial School at age 5, Conrad was always the youngest in his class. He graduated from Ursuline High School in the class of 1956 at the age of 16. Among his accomplishments were the school records in the mile run and half-mile run. These records stood for 25 years.
Even as he completed his seminary training, Conrad was selected to be ordained a year ahead of his ordination class by then Bishop James Malone. His ordination in August of 1963 made it possible for him to perform the marriage ceremony for his brother Henry and Ruth Estok in September of 1963 as his first wedding ceremony as a priest. Henry and Ruth will celebrate their 56th anniversary in September.
Throughout his career as a priest in the Diocese of Youngstown, Conrad spent time as an assistant pastor and as pastor of a number of churches (e.g., St. Christine’s, Sacred Heart, and Our Lady of Peace). Over the course of his career, he furthered his studies, earning a couple of master’s degrees and eventually a PhD in theological studies at Duquesne University. While he as a priest, he taught in the seminary in Cincinnati (Mount St. Mary’s).
After 24 years as a priest, Conrad made the difficult and courageous decision to step aside from his career in the priesthood. As was his practice in life, he took this step through the proper channels and was officially laicized. In 1987, Conrad entered into marriage with Annette Novicky; a partnership that was founded on love, mutual respect, and an abiding relationship with the church.
Conrad was a gifted speaker and teacher, and he soon found a position at Ursuline College, where he served over time as an instructor, department leader, and dean. In that setting Conrad found ways to continue sharing his knowledge and insights in the fields he loved: theology and ministry.
The prematurely born child, born into humble circumstances, became a person who found a way to share his knowledge and compassion that are the foundations of our religious beliefs. He helped us to experience and come to understand that such love and compassion is not just about him, – it is about us.