The Rev. Charles C. Garst, a priest at St. Dominic Catholic Church and former teacher at Father Judge High School, died Thanksgiving Day at age 65.
Garst, a native of Wilmington, Delaware, spent 44 years as a professed member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. Most recently, he served as parochial vicar at St. Dominic in Holmesburg, where he had been since 2010.
The Rev. Edward Kearns, St. Dominic’s pastor, said Garst was a “low-key kind of guy” who loved his dog, a German shepherd named Sebastian.
“Up here, people loved him because he was a likable guy,” Kearns said. “He was a good listener.”
“He had a dry wit. People enjoyed that,” he added. “He was very easy to live with. I lived with him for eight years.”
Garst was suffering from kidney problems and had been seriously ill for the past three months, according to Kearns. Still, St. Dominic parishioners and fellow priests were hoping he would be able to recover.
“People were shocked,” Kearns said. “We had all hoped that he would beat this.”
Garst entered the Oblates after graduating from high school in 1971, and he was ordained in 1983, the same year he started teaching at Judge. He stayed at the high school until 1996 and served as assistant athletic director from 1992 to 1996.
During his ministry, Garst split his time between Wilmington and Philadelphia in addition to a brief stop at a church in Berks County, according to an obituary published by Hicks Funeral Home.
Garst also served as a chaplain to the Philadelphia and Wilmington police departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He was described by one commanding officer as a “consummate professional,” according to the obituary.
A funeral Mass was held last week for Garst in Wilmington, and he was buried at Oblate Cemetery in Cecil County, Maryland. Donations in his memory can be made to the Oblate Development Fund, 2200 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE 19806. ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org