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Evansville, Indiana
March 6, 1998     The Message
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March 6, 1998

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1998. The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 er Tillotson's morn n woman visits son's mission in Bangladesh HUGHES staff writer s Day, Ruth ...... received a gift that took opened the card Step-daughter, Judy a note promis- to Bangladesh. The I that she :Speak for two hours. isn't on many Wish list'of places to special mean- Maryknoll Tillotson in Sullivan. She's a he raised her three Same. I was in c01- Catholic told his moth- WOuld like to begin in the She advised Was looking at the just because Was Catholic, that use that's that's OK comes "we are all place." side when he at St. Mary he moved to :livorced. his mother, oining the was his an adult." take the gifts to the altar. I just did what they told me. It was a beautiful service and everyone was so kind to us." The new Father Tillotson was sent to Tanzania for additional Maryknoll training. "He loved it there." He returned home to Sullivan before being assigned to Bangladesh. "I had never even heard of it. Nobody wanted it, and Billy was the type that if nobody wanted it, he felt that's where he should go." Ruth admits that it was diffi- cult to see him head so far away from home. "I hated to see it happen, but they are grown people, and you can't control their lives. "You pray a lot." As a child, Billy "never spent much on himself. He was not the least bit materialistic," his mother remembers. That trait continued in Bangladesh. "I would write and ask, 'What can I send you?' He Would answer, 'Nothing. I don't need a thing.'" He loved his life in Bangladesh, and quickly learned the lan- guage. He made the decision to completely assimilate himself with the people he was serving. Instead of living in the rectory, he took a small room in town. He told his mother that he wanted to be available "day and night." He quickly became known as the "priest who eats one meal a day." "He wanted to be like the peo- ple he was serving, and he was. He was extremely accepted." Unfortunately, the impact that he was having in his adopted country came to a sudden end in 1992. Around Christmas of the previous year he was bitten by a puppy who turned out to be rabid. He became very ill on Good Friday, and by Easter Sunday he was dead at the age of 44. As his illness progressed,, he was told that it was always 100 percent fatal. Before he died, he taped a message for his mother thanking her "for giving me love. If I have to give my life for some- thing, I hope to give it for love." He told her-that "until our earthly bodies are resurrected" he wanted her to know "how much I love you. I thank you for the life you have given me, and I ask God to give you a long life." He ended his message by telling her, "I love you. I'll wait for you in heaven. God bless you." He asked to be buried in Thailand, near the water. Ruth agreed, believing that his body is there "but his spirit is with us, and with the people there in Bangladesh too." After his death, she carried memories of her son in her heart, and she listened to his last taped message, when she was strong enough. Then, she received the Mother's Day card offemg her a trip to Bangladesh to see where her son worked, and a trip to Thailand to visit his grave. She eagerly accepted. After Christmas, Ruth, her daughter Dawn and her son Ruth Parker holds a carving of her son, Father William Tillotson. She is with her daughter, Dawn Lee. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes John flew to Bangladesh. They were able to see where he had lived and to meet the people he had served, "They were beautiful people, and I could see why he wanted to be there. [ met a lot of people who had known him. Through all of their stories, I learned how much they thought of him. "It brought us closer to him." She also visit beautiful care of it." The trip was a difficult one, but it brought closure, Ruth says. "I wouldn't take anything for it." he wrote , he said he felt With people" to the I think the the back of his a calling ashing it back. and did it, it I felt he !,good, and I it. to New York for the priesthood, "beau- was a "bit I Was asked to in StOck" .... ':'""'.$239.81 Span METAL Peo le we Following is a fi'ature in the Message, designed to help draw togeth- er the People of God in southwestern Indiana. Readers are invited to submit information about people who may benefit by some extra prayers and attention. Services for Benedictine Sister Mary Helen Ubelhor, 59, who died Feb. 24, were held Feb. 27 at Monastery Immaculate Conception. Sister Ubelhor was born the seventh of eleven children to Edward and Rosaline (Boeglin) Ubelhor of Evansville. She entered the Sisters of St. Benedict in 1956 from Good Shepherd Church, Evansville. She made her final vows in 1961, and SISTER. celebrated 25 years of religious profession UBELHOR in 1983. Sister Uebelhor served at St. Vincent Day Care, Evansville, and at St. Joseph Hospital, Huntingburg. Survivors include brothers, Jerome of Lexington, Ky., and Victor of Evansville, and sisters, Irma Schmitt of Newburgh and Lynn Ubelhor and Dolores Mounts, both of Evansville. Services for Janice Frey, 59, were held Feb. 27 at St. John the Baptist Church, Newburgh. Frey was a teacher at Good Shepherd School, Evansville. Survivors include two daughters, Alicia Lachowecki of Evansville and Karen Frev of San Diego, Calif.; her mother, Lucille Gatton of Owensboro; a sister, Marie Priar of Haubstadt, and two brothers, Dennis Gatton of Maceo, Ky., and Larry Gatton of Denver, Colo. Services for Mary Jo Heitgerd, 70, who died Feb. 2.3, were held Feb. 27 at Holy Spirit Church. She is the sister of Elizabeth Williams, master list administrator for the diocesan Office of Communications. Survivors also include a son, Philip Fischer of Evansville, and sisters, Lorene Koeberstein of Princeton md Carroll Knight of St. Joseph. Please send information for PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT to Mary Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724. The e-mail address is Subject: PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT. The deadline for copy is 9 am. the Friday before publication. I I II I r II I I] FORD MERCURY LINCOLN \\; TRUCK AND TRAILER SALES tO000 STATE HWY 57 " EVANSVILLE, IN 47732 WASHINGTON, IN 254-1430 TOLL FREE *800HEV II II l ]lll I RUXER FORD - LINCOLN - MERCURY II ] [ III I]1 I I I i JASPER