DONOR STORY

Continuing to serve, leaving a legacy for Saint Leo

Reverend Robert “Bob” Fucheck ‘57

For 50 years, the Reverend Robert “Bob” Fucheck ‘57 has dedicated his life to serving others through his ministries. Wherever God has taken him—as a monk, educator, coach, pastor, administrator, and now, as a retired priest helping wherever he is needed—he lives the Benedictine motto, “In all things, may God be glorified.”

The seventh child of a devout Roman Catholic family, Father Bob grew up in North Tarrytown, NY, until the family moved to Masaryktown, FL, in 1950. While attending junior high school, the young man felt an interest in joining the priesthood. His local parish was staffed by Benedictines from the Saint Leo Abbey, who invited him to attend their preparatory school. One of the priests gifted him a picture of Saint John Bosco, which he keeps on his desk to this day. During his four years at the preparatory school, he was recognized as a good student as well as a talented athlete.

Father Fucheck

Father Bob as coach of the soccer team

Father Bob was the kind of Saint Leo College Prep graduate who could have succeeded in whatever he set his mind to, but his real gift was answering the call to serve his church, his people, and the Lord. Abbot Marion Bowman sent Father Bob to college and theology studies, and then called him back to the abbey in 1965 and ordained him to the priesthood the following year. Father Bob had multiple responsibilities at the abbey, including serving as chaplain for the college and as a member of the college’s Board of Trustees. In addition, Father Bob dedicated much of his time to the students in his roles as dean of men, a teacher of history and theology classes, and as the first coach of the four-year soccer team.

Abbot Marion, whom Father Bob describes as a larger-than-life character, had a great influence on him. In many ways, Father Bob was Abbot Marion’s protégé, always volunteering to help in any way he could. At one point, Abbot Marion needed Father Bob to step into the role of prior and administrator of the abbey. Following Abbot Marion’s departure, Father Bob led the abbey for eight months until a new abbot could be elected. Although Father Bob had the passion and skills to run the abbey, at 30 years old, he was still too young and inexperienced to lead, but his value to the abbey and college were clearly demonstrated.

Whether it was pastoring the small town church in San Antonio, FL, or leading a 1,600-family congregation in The Villages, a retirement community in Florida, one thing that remained steadfast was Father Bob’s dedication to demonstrating kindness and generosity, and praising the Lord. To cap his tremendous career dedicated to the service of others, in 2010 Father Bob received the Florida Benedictine Spirit Award, given only to those who have truly led their lives as a shining example of Benedictine values.

Now, even in his retirement, he has a busy schedule, spending much of his time working in his communities, and he still pastors every Sunday. Father Bob is a member of the President’s Council for the university and as well as the James Horgan Heritage Society.

Several years ago, Father Bob made a decision regarding how he wanted his estate to be managed. Saint Leo had been an integral part of his life for more than five decades, so when he was ready, he set up an insurance policy with automatic payouts and selected Saint Leo University as its benefactor. As part of making a planned gift, Father Bob had the option to designate what the gift would support. Since the campus is continuously growing, the funds were dedicated to a special building project. Father Bob was dramatically influenced by the education he received and the people he came across at Saint Leo, and he chose a lifetime of dedication to others. Now he will continue his legacy by making an impact on the Saint Leo community for years to come.

His message to all current and future Saint Leo students is to enjoy the experience: “It’s a good time in your life, and you have great opportunities. Make use of all the great people and things you have around you. The first rule of Saint Benedict is to listen, which is necessary for us to mature, to grow spiritually, and to learn. Turn off the phones every so often, and take in the world around you.”

 

To learn how you can make your own impact at Saint Leo University, contact our Director of Planned Giving, Stephen Kubasek, DBA, at (352) 588-8355 or by email at stephen.kubasek@saintleo.edu for more information.

 
 
 

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