Father Richard Morris Cressman
Father Richard Morris Cressman
  • August 15, 1928 - July 3, 2017
  • Tampa, Florida

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CRESSMAN, Fr. Richard, a Salesian Priest in the Catholic Religious Order of Saint John Bosco, died on Monday, July 3, 2017.

Fr. Richard was 88 years old. He joined the Salesians in 1972 at 44 years of age. He was born in Bethlehem, PA on August 15, 1928 to Charles and Charlotte Cressman. Fr. Richard was the second of five children: Robert, Richard, Paul, Mary and Charles.

Fr. Richard enjoyed hiking, swimming and nature. He loved the game of chess and as a youth quickly mastered it. He avidly taught his nieces, nephews and many young people how to play it. His undergraduate studies were done at Penn State University and he earned his Ph.D. in botany at The Ohio State University in 1957.

Fr. Richard was drafted and served in the Army from 1953-1955. Afterward, he worked as a researcher for the USDA in South Dakota and in Washington for 15 years. He enjoyed travel, tennis and skiing. He was a Boy Scout troop leader for over a decade.

In 1972, Fr. Richard felt God’s call to the priesthood. He entered the Salesian Order and professed his vows as a religious on September 1, 1974. He was ordained a Salesian priest on May 24, 1980.

Fr. Richard spent his ministry in various assignments: Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ), Salesian Boys & Girls Club (Columbus, OH) and Salesian Boys & Girls Club (Boston, MA).

Fr. Richard moved to Mary Help of Christians Center in Tampa, FL in 2013. He suffered the effects of cancer for the last eight months and went peacefully home to the Lord on July 3, 2017. He was surrounded by his brother Salesians and cared for by parishioners and family members during his illness.

Funeral services will be held at Mary Help of Christians Church. Wake on July 5 from 4:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Mass of the Resurrection will be celebrated on July 6 at 11:00 am. Fr. Richard tutored and mentored students at Cristo Rey Tampa High School during the past year. This new Catholic high school in Tampa that educates underserved youth was near and dear to his heart. Donations in his memory can be sent to Cristo Rey Tampa High School at Mary Help of Christians Center (6400 E. Chelsea St., Tampa FL 33610).