FATHER THOMAS ZOTTER
Father Thomas Zotter, 70, passed away peacefully at Sunrise Hospital, Las Vegas, September 30, 2018. Father Tom was born February 15, 1948 to Mary E. Zotter and Albert R. Zotter in Pittsburgh, Pa. He grew up in a loving Irish family with five aunts and uncles, and nine cousins, and a German family with two aunts and an uncle, and five cousins. He pursed his vocation to priesthood by entering St. Fidelis Seminary, Herman, Pa., in tenth grade. He graduated from St. Fidelis High School and College with a B.A. in Counseling Psychology. He continued his studies at the Washington Theological Coalition in Annapolis, Md. He was ordained by Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez, January 9, 1976 at his parish church, St. Gabriel, in Pittsburgh, for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Father Tom served as a priest in the Archdiocese for 34 years, Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Fatima, Albuquerque; Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Santa Fe; Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Cimarron; Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Pojoaque; Pastor, Queen of Heaven, Albuquerque; Pastor, St, Bernadette (elevated to the Shrine of St. Bernadette), Albuquerque. While serving at St. Bernadette, Father Tom took correspondent courses from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, Calif., and earned a Doctor of Ministry. Tom was assigned several challenging parishes at the time. Tom successfully turned them around. While serving as Pastor in Pojoaque, Tom became lifelong friends with Patty and Wilfred Romero. Likewise, while serving at St. Bernadette, he became lifelong friends of Dan Paulos, Susan Tomita, and Deacon Byron and Madeline Wicker, and numerous others. He was also a long-term friend of Father Ed Ortega. Tom’s crowning achievement in the priesthood was the major renovation of St. Bernadette, and its subsequent elevation, to the Shrine of St. Bernadette. Tom served as Pastor of St. Bernadette from October 1, 1992 until June 30, 2010, approximately one half of his priesthood. Due to ill health, Tom was forced to take early retirement, and leave his beloved Shrine of St. Bernadette. Given the large drop in housing prices in Las Vegas due to the housing crisis, Tom moved there to buy a home. He continued to perform his priestly duties as a visiting priest under the patronage of Bishop Pepe, hearing confessions, and saying weekend masses at St. Joan of Arc, St. Bridget, St. Anne and St. Christopher Catholic Churches. Tom was predeceased by his beloved parents, Al and Mary Zotter. Tom is survived by his sister, Mary Jo Ferraro (Dan), Houston; and his brother, Jim Zotter (Susan); and five nieces and nephews, Liz, Lexi, and Jason Ferrari, and Michael and Karen Zotter. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, October 9 at St. Bridget Roman Catholic Church, 220 N. 14 St., Las Vegas, NV 89101. Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Archbishop John C. Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe at the Shrine of St. Bernadette in Albuquerque, N.M., at 10 a. m. Monday, October 22. A reception will follow in the parish hall. All are invited. Burial will be at Gates of Heaven Cemetery in Albuquerque. Donations may be made in lieu of flowers to the Shrine of St. Bernadette Building Fund.