Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Fr. Donald Hardebeck

Father Donald Hardebeck, 87, died at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lafayette.
Father Hardebeck was active in ministry until his last days. For the past three years, he resided at University Place retirement village, West Lafayette, IN, where he served as Catholic Chaplain. He was faithful in his daily office, offered mass weekly, and ministered to the residents each day. He loved the people at University Place and they loved him.
Born in Kokomo on May 27, 1919 to the late Casper John and Mary J. (Eder) Hardebeck, he had resided in Tippecanoe County for 50 years. Father Hardebeck graduated from St. Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN and Saint Meinrad Seminary in St. Meinrad, IN where he majored in Philosophy and Theology. He was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest for the Diocese of Lafayette, IN on February 2, 1945.
He served as an assistant Pastor from 1945 to 1949 at Sacred Heart Church in Fowler, IN, St. Charles Church in Peru, IN, and St. Lawrence Church in Muncie, IN. He served as Pastor from 1949 until his retirement in 1994 at Sorrowful Mother Church in Wheatfield, IN, St. Cecilia Mission in DeMotte, IN, Church of the Blessed Sacrament, West Lafayette, IN, and St. Joseph Church in Delphi, IN.
Among his many accomplishments, in 1952 he organized and founded St. Cecilia Parish in DeMotte, 1956 he expanded Sorrowful Mother Church in Wheatfield by overseeing the building of a new rectory. Blessed Sacrament Church had its beginnings in June of 1957, when Bishop John Bennett commissioned Father Hardebeck to organize a parish in West Lafayette. During the early months and years of its life, the generosity of good neighbors was a blessing to both pastor and parishioners. The first parish organizational meetings were held at St. Thomas Aquinas Church on the campus of Purdue University, where Sunday Masses were also celebrated for a time. With the September 1957 filing of the decree officially establishing Blessed Sacrament parish, Father Hardebeck moved into a house at 120 Leslie Street in West Lafayette. Parish groups met at this location, catechism classes were begun, and weekday Masses and baptisms were held as the new faith community started its church life. In 1986 he was instrumental in the renovation and expansion of St. Joseph Church in Delphi.
From 1957 to 1985, Father Hardebeck was a member of greater Lafayette Catholic High School Board and served as Chairman for two terms. From 1963 to 1973, he was a member of the Mental Health Association of Tippecanoe County and served as President for one term. From 1948 to the present he was Chaplain of local Council of Knights of Columbus, of which he was a Fourth Degree Knight. He served for twenty years as a judge for the Diocesan Matrimonial Tribunal. He was Deanery Director of the Catholic Youth Organization of the Diocese, served on the Diocesan Liturgical Commission for ten years, and was chairman for five. He served on the Diocesan Board of Advisors for Pension Plan and Program for lay employees of the Diocese, served on the Diocesan Building Commission for five years, and was a member of the Steering Committee for Fruitful Harvest (diocesan fund raising) until his retirement.
In 1964 he served as chaplain for two cruises on the S.S. Ariadne, out of Miami Beach, FL. He had traveled several times in Europe, Mexico, and Brazil and cruised three times in the Caribbean, and recently to Alaska.
Surviving are a brother, Gaynard Hardebeck (wife, Amaryllis) of Indianapolis and a sister, Doris Hellman (husband, Ray) of Orlando, FL. He is also survived by 14 nieces and 13 nephews and numerous great nieces and great nephews. Preceded in death by siblings Robert John Hardebeck and Irene Kuntz.
Memorial contributions may be made to Saint Meinrad School of Theology, 200 Hill Dr., St. Meinrad, IN 47577 or Religious Retirement Fund. Make checks payable to Blessed Sacrament Church with religious retirement fund on memo line, or Blessed Sacrament Church, 2224 Sacramento Drive, West Lafayette, IN 47906.
Information obtained from www.hippensteelfuneralhome.com