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Fr. Joseph G. Vetter

Posted By Hall-Wynne On May 9, 2018 @ 4:00 pm In Durham,News,Obituaries | 12 Comments

Reverend Joseph G. Vetter, 71 years old, died on Monday, May 7, 2018 at his temporary residence in Durham, North Carolina.  He was born in Greensboro, North Carolina on February 1, 1947 to the late Regina Dolores (Murray) Vetter and Raymond Edward Vetter.  Father Vetter was preceded in death by his sister, Anne Marie Vetter and his dear friend, Mary Dowling and is survived by his sister, Marie Vetter of Durham; his brother, David R Vetter of Graham; and his sister, Rita V. Scearce (Jerry) of Greensboro.  He is also survived by several nieces and nephews, a great niece and great nephew, and another great niece or nephew on the way: Catherine Felder Gildae (Elizabeth), Hannah, Matthew, and Clare Gildae; Tess Felder; Stephen Felder (Cara), Regina Felder; Brian Scearce (Susannah); Andrew Scearce (Susan), Olivia Scearce; Sarah Vetter, Audrey Vetter, Emily Jones (Brandon), Beckett Jones; and Lauren Taylor (Thomas).  He is also survived by many friends, including his close friend, Dottie Carter.


After discerning a vocation to the Priesthood, Father Vetter entered into studies and priestly formation for the Diocese of Raleigh at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.  Father Vetter was ordained to the Priesthood on March 26, 1973 at Annunciation Catholic Church in Havelock, North Carolina by the Most Reverend Vincent S. Waters, the third Bishop of Raleigh.


In the Diocese of Raleigh, Father Vetter served as Parochial Vicar at Saint Michael the Archangel in Cary and Saint Julia Parish in Siler City; Parochial Vicar at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham; Editor of The North Carolina Catholic Newspaper; Director of Communications for the Diocese of Raleigh; Parochial Vicar, Newman Catholic Student Center in Chapel Hill; Administrator, Saint Julia Parish in Siler City; Pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Raleigh; Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia; Pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Southport; Director and Campus Minister, Duke University Catholic Center in Durham.  His final Pastoral assignment was Pastor of St. Therese Parish, Wrightsville Beach from which he retired in June 2017.  Additionally, Father Vetter served in priestly ministry as Vicar for Religious and Vicar for Priests for the Diocese of Raleigh, while also holding other parochial appointments.


Father Vetter retired from active priestly ministry on June 27, 2017.  Following his retirement, Father Vetter had residence in Yancey County, North Carolina.


The funeral arrangements for Father Vetter are as follows: Reception of the Body and Vigil for the Deceased on Monday, May 14, 2018 at 6 pm at Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary, Monsignor Michael P. Shugrue, Presiding and assisted by Monsignor John A. Wall.  The Visitation will then follow until 8 pm.  The Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11 am at Saint Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary, Most Reverend Luis R. Zarama, Bishop of Raleigh, Principal Celebrant and Monsignor Gerald L. Lewis, Homilist.  Internment will take place at the later date in Yancey County, North Carolina.


The family of Father Vetter requests that all memorials be made to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh or to a charity of personal choice.


Arrangements for the Vetter family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham, NC.  On-line memorials:   www.hallwynne.com.

Condolences for the family of “Fr. Joseph G. Vetter”

Condolence from Maureen A Gibboney on May 9th, 2018 6:49 pm

Father Joe you were a special part of our family. You married us, baptized us, and buried us. We grew up with you from your years at the josh to just now. You will be missed. We love you.

Condolence from Marie Vetter on May 11th, 2018 8:20 am

Maureen, thank you so much. Your family was supportive of and connected with Joe for many years, especially during his years in seminary. Please give your family my love. -Marie Vetter

Condolence from Denise Donlon on May 10th, 2018 1:00 pm

To all who loved Joe,

I offer my deepest condolences and wish Joe everlasting peace, in heaven! I feel honored to have known Joe and only wish I’d known him longer. I’m thrilled to have shared lunch with him, his family, and friends, last Wednesday 5/2, when he celebrated an office, dedicated to him, in the new Durham Food Pantry.

Joe was a very special person, thank you, Joe, for being so kind to me and the world. You’ll be deeply missed, but suffering no more and at peace with the Lord.

Love, Denise Donlon

Condolence from suzanne medd on May 11th, 2018 9:08 pm

Father Joe , even as a high school student at Asheville Catholic High (’65) , showed such depth of spirit .This joyful spirit with his intellectual toughness was impressive and all inclusive. He simply wanted us to be happy and close to God. He made it seem easy to be patient with folks who were different in their thoughts or agenda… What a gentle giant ! Father Joe’s columns in the North Carolina newspaper were just fabulous and insightful – so many times they helped me keep a positive perspective. I could not wait to see the next edition! He was devoted to his family .His friends he treated like family… He cherished everyone of us ! Father Joe ‘s legacy and message will continue to guide us. Our love and prayers to his family and his family of friends, Suzanne Woody Medd (ACH’66) and Charles Medd

Condolence from diana shoaf on May 13th, 2018 6:22 am

Father Joe was at Immaculate Conception in Durham during my confirmation years. Now, some 40 years later, I remember the profound impact he had on my faith. Much love and prayers to the family.

Condolence from Michael Orlowski on May 13th, 2018 8:22 am

To the famiky and friends of Father Joe,

I wish to express my condolences and prayers for Father Joe, his family, and friends. Besides so much else, he did so much for the St. Joseph the Worker Food Pantry. His vision, leadership, and caring proved immeasurable for our Food Pantry’s success. We thank you Father for your tremendous support. May God bless and guide you to his Heavenly Kingdom..
Much love,
Mike Orlowski

Condolence from Kay Britto of St Therese on May 13th, 2018 10:35 am

Father Joe was one of the warmest priests I have ever known.He was such a generous person, Two memories I would like to share are that when he first came to St T I attended a Sunday evening Mass and there was no lector, he looked at the congregation and asked for a volunteer. I went up and read. After Mass as I was leaving he thanked me for helping—I didn’t expect him to remember, but he did. The other time was when my daughter got married and she wanted to give him a stipend. He told her not to give it to him, but to donate to the food bank.

Condolence from Catherine Dugan on May 13th, 2018 1:31 pm

I attended mass in Wrightsville Beach a couple of years ago followed by lunch with Father Vetter. We discussed his days in Siler City and how much he meant to my family then and over the years, and especially to my mother in her later years. He remembered with humor that I chose Catherine for my confirmation name so I could be called “Cat Cat” for short. What a patient, kind and intelligent soul he was. I am so grateful and lucky to have known him.


Condolence from char porter on May 13th, 2018 5:18 pm

From the Charley and Eileen Sunder Family to the Vetter Family – many wonderful memories of the two getting together and enjoying their wonderful bond. Such a special relationship of friend, counselor, and leader. Love, prayers, and God’s loving-kindness. Charleen Porter, Gail Sunder, Sue Sunder

Condolence from Theresa Shouse on May 13th, 2018 10:39 pm

I was shocked and saddened to hear of Father Vetter’s passing. He was one of the first priests I met when moving to North Carolina in the 1970’s. What a kind and compassionate person. We were blessed to know him. My heart goes out to Marie and other members of his family.

Condolence from Richard Salem on May 14th, 2018 2:04 pm

Father Joe’s faith and friendship were guideposts for our family over the decades. Our appreciation and fond memories of him will live on for years to come. Our prayers and heartfelt condolences to all of his beloved.

Richard and Jule Salem, and the Albert M. Salem Senior extended family.

Condolence from Pauline and Robbie Bach on June 2nd, 2018 10:08 pm

We will miss Joe so much as he was an inspiration when we were at Newman Center at UNC . Over the years we always kept in touch and we had the pleasure of having him over for dinner in Seattle a few times when he was on the west coast. The last trip was his tour of the USA with his friend and we had wonderful conversations as always. He was a remarkable person who was inspirational, warm and had a big heart to all around him..

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