Father Kenneth Thielman, 92, died May 21 at CentraCare-Melrose Care Center in Melrose. Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 at St. Mary Church in Melrose. A vigil prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. at the church. Visitation continues Wednesday, May 26 from 9 to 10:45 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. with Bishop Donald Kettler presiding. Burial will be at St. Benedict’s Cemetery in Avon.
Father Kenneth Edmund Thielman was born Aug. 16, 1928, in Avon, the son of Nicholas and Frances (Wellenstein) Thielman. Father Thielman attended Avon Elementary School in Avon, Technical High School in St. Cloud, and undergraduate studies at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
He received his seminary training at St. John’s Seminary in Collegeville. Father Thielman was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Peter Bartholome, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud June 4, 1955. He celebrated his first Mass at St. Benedict Church in Avon on June 5, 1955.
Father Thielman served in the following pastoral assignments in the Diocese of St. Cloud: associate pastor, St. Joseph, Waite Park, June 1955 to September 1961; pastor, St. Frederick, Verndale, Sept. 1961 to Nov.1965; Holy Cross, Pearl Lake, Nov. 1965 to June 1969; St. Joseph, Waite Park, June 1969 to Aug. 1980; Our Lady of Lourdes, Little Falls, Aug. 1980 to July 1990; and Christ the King, Browerville, July 6 1990 to July 1998. Father Thielman retired July 1, 1998.
Father Thielman was instrumental in establishing the REC (Residents Encounter Christ) program in 1992. He also served as chaplain for REC and TEC (Together Encountering Christ) programs. He was chaplain for the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Sauk Centre from 1992 to 1999.
Father Thielman is survived by brothers, Lowell (Phyllis) Thielman of Avon; Holy Cross Brother Nicholas Thielman, Notre Dame, Indiana; and sister-in-law, Rosemary Thielman of Brooklyn Park.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Sylvester, Nestor, Howard, Gerald, and Delroy; and sisters, Lenore, Bernice, Evelyn, Virginia, and Delphine.
Serving as casket bearers will be Gary Thielman, Cathy Blair, Paul Thielman, Mary Kay Nelson, Sheryl St. Johns, and Curt Sauer.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Bangladesh Holy Cross Mission or CentraCare Hospice.