Rev. William Bovard

August 31, 1937 - April 19, 2016

Reverend William R. Bovard, 78, founding pastor of St. John Neumann Roman Catholic Parish in Franklin Park, PA, died peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at St. John Specialty Care Center in Butler County. He had been a resident of St. John Vianney Manor in Crafton.

Father Bovard spent his childhood in Carrick, near Pittsburgh, attending elementary and high school at St. Basil. He attended seminary at Our Lady of the Lake in Syracuse, Indiana and St. Vincent’s in Latrobe, PA; and was ordained by Bishop John Wright on February 29, 1964 at the Cathedral of St. Paul for the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

Father Bovard was pastor of St. John Neumann for 28 years until his retirement in 2007. In earlier assignments he served as Parochial Vicar at St. Bartholomew in Penn Hills, Nativity of Our Lord in the North Side, and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bellevue. Father Bovard also taught at North Catholic High School and was Religious Education Deanery Director for the Northwest Deanery from 1998 – 2007. He was a spiritual director to Teens Encounter Christ in Pittsburgh.

During his retirement, Father Bovard assisted at several parishes including St. Alexis in Wexford, Our Lady of Grace in Scott Township, St. Margaret of Scotland in Greentree, and Ascension in Ingram.

Father Bovard was an avid reader on a wide range of subjects, enriching his homilies with knowledge of the spiritual masters, world history and cultures, and philosophy. He constantly preached on realizing the Kingdom of God through a spirit of reconciliation and renewal. As pastor of St. John Neumann, Father Bovard inspired and promoted many ministries that are still active today, including numerous social justice and community outreach programs, small faith sharing groups, and Catechesis of the Good Shepherd religious education.

The Reception of the Body and viewing for Father Bovard will be held at St John Neumann Parish, 2230 Rochester Road, Franklin Park (15237) on Wednesday, April 20 from 6-8 p.m. and on Thursday, April 21 from 1-4 and 6-8 p.m. with a closing Vesper service at 7 p.m. There will be additional viewing on Friday, April 22 from 9-10:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 11 a.m. celebrated by Bishop William Winter. Father James Murphy will be the homilist.

Father Bovard is survived by his dear sister, Patricia (Patty) Bovard. His parents, William R. and Anna M. Bovard and brother David predeceased him. Father Bovard will be buried at Calvary Cemetery in the Greenfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Arrangements by DEVLIN FUNERAL HOME, INC.

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  • Mary Ann and John Kuhn

    Our memories with Fr. Bovard will remain with us forever as he always gave us worldy wisdom with a touch of realism. Our dearest family memories are with him at the Appalachia Workcamp, meetings and playing baseball at the Camp. His legacy of reaching out to our "neighbors in need" will last a lifetime. I consider it an honor to have worked with him at St. John Neumann Parish. God Bless Him Always.


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