Rev. William J. Hultberg, Jr., OSFS
Father William J. Hultberg, OSFS, 88, a professed Oblate of St. Francis de Sales for 61 years died on Friday, September 6, 2019. Son of the late Mary (Ochar) and William J. Hultberg, Sr., he was born in Wilmington, DE July 30, 1931, attended Marshallton Elementary School and graduated from Salesianum School in 1949. He entered the Oblates in 1950 and made his first profession on January 9, 1951. After teaching at Northeast Catholic High School and attending Niagara University, Niagara, NY, he left the Oblates and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953. Following his discharge in 1955, he attended La Salle College, Philadelphia, PA and earned a BA in Education in 1957, re-entered the Oblate novitiate and made his first profession of vows in June 1958. He subsequently received a Masters in Education from Niagara University, completed his studies for the priesthood at De Sales Hall School of Theology, Hyattsville, MD and made final profession in June 1961. He was ordained a priest on June 2, 1962 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Wilmington, DE.
Following ordination, Father taught at Northeast Catholic High School, Philadelphia, and Bishop Duffy High School, Niagara Falls and while there, he also served as a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Navy. From 1968 through 1971, Father served active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; the 1st Marine Division, Vietnam and at Naval Air Station, Lemoore, CA. He was awarded the Bronze Star (with Valor) for his service in Vietnam, resigned his commission with the U.S. Navy and was assigned to Bishop Ireton High School, Alexandria, VA.
In 1976, Father was recalled to active duty with the U.S. Army to work in their substance abuse program at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, El Paso, TX. He completed his Active Military service in 1983 as Lieutenant Colonel – a member of the General Staff, 97th United States Army Reserve unit stationed at Fort Meade, MD and received four Meritorious Award Medals for outstanding work in developing and implementing alcohol and drug prevention programs. He completed his military career as an Active Reservist in 1991, compiling thirty-five years in the armed forces.
In 1984, he began his ministry at the Caron Foundation, Wernersville, PA as an addiction counselor. From 1987 – 2003 he served as Director of Pastoral Care, and in 1995, he was appointed Assistant to the President. While at Caron, Father offered spiritual and religious counseling to recovering addicts and co-dependents. He developed and implemented a spiritual program of support for HIV-positive and AIDS patients. The hallmark of his ministry was simply, “We love you as you are!” He designed a liturgy that helps recovering people establish and deepen a healthy relationship with God in ways consistent with their religious denomination. Father Hultberg received the Ryan White National Award for the year 2000 (faith-based category) for his Spiritual Retreat Program for HIV infected and affected people. He retired at the Salesianum Oblate residence in 2015 but continued helping with weekend programs at Caron until his transfer to the Oblate community in Childs, MD in the spring of 2018. Fittingly, Fr. Bill was inducted into Salesianum’s Hall of Fame in 2016.
In addition to the members of his religious community, Fr. Hultberg is survived by Joseph Hultberg, Larry Hultberg, Joseph Blansfield, Art Blansfield, Deborah Gill, John Ryan, Jan Dycio, Chip Dycio and Kim Taylor, as well as countless other people whose lives were forever changed for having experienced this man, Oblate and priest who could be accurately described as a ‘Wounded Healer’.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 PM, Thursday, September 12 and Friday, September 13 from 9:30 until 10:45 AM at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 455 Bow Street, Elkton, MD 21921. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11 AM with interment in the Oblate Cemetery, Childs, MD.
Contributions made in honor of Fr. Bill’s life and legacy may be sent to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales – 2200 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806.
Read his Homily here>>