Rev. John H.
Gubser, 67
NILES – The Rev. John H. Gubser, pastor of St. Stephen Church in Niles for the past 13 years, died at 1:20 a.m. Tuesday at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown from complications from acute leukemia.
Father Gubser was named pastor of St. Stephen in 1992 and during his tenure, came to be beloved by his parishioners and throughout the Niles community for his humble manner, compassionate ways and caring for others.
He was an enthusiastic supporter of Catholic education and had a special love for the students of St. Stephen School. In previous assignments, he taught at two high schools in the Youngstown Diocese.
During his time at St. Stephen, Father Gubser oversaw the renovation of the church and in 2003, the year-long celebration of the church’s 150th anniversary.
Father Gubser was born July 23, 1937 in Youngstown, a son of the late Irvin L. and Marie Foley Gubser. He grew up in Hubbard, where he attended St. Patrick School, and later graduated from Ursuline High School in Youngstown.
He studied for the priesthood at St. Gregory and Mount St. Mary of the West seminaries in Cincinnati, later earning an additional master’s degree in religious studies at San Francisco University in 1981.
He was ordained Dec. 30, 1962 at St. Columba Cathedral in Youngstown by Bishop Emmet M. Walsh.
Following his ordination, Father Gubser served as an associated pastor at St. Nicholas Parish in Struthers in 1963, at St. Stephen in Niles from 1964 to 1967, again at St. Nicholas from 1967 to 1972 and at St. Nicholas Parish and St. Paul Parish in Canton from 1972 to 1974, while he also served as a part time faculty member at Canton Central Catholic High School.
In 1974, he was named to the faculty member at Canton Central Catholic High School
In 1974, he was named to the faculty at Ursuline High School, where he remained until 1980, when he was named pastor of St. Clement Parish in Navarre, serving there until 1988. From 1988 to 1992, he was pastor of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Ashtabula, after which he began his service at St. Stephen.
Father Gubser served on Diocesan Board of Religious Education from 1989 to 1995 and in 2002, on the Diocesan Pastoral Council.
Father Gubser served as a member of the Niles Interfaith Dinner Committee, a member and past president of the Niles Clergy Association, a member of Niles Community Services, Niles Churches for Housing and was chaplain of the 3rd Degree Knights of Columbus, Council 1681 of Niles and was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus with the Mount Vernon Council. He frequently would celebrate Mass at several area nursing homes.
Father Gubser enjoyed his twice-yearly vacations to Yosemite National Park, where he often said Mass for other campers. He enjoyed spending time with St. Stephen parishioners, teachers and students, whom he affectionately referred to as “his family.”
Father Gubser is survived by two brothers, Father Paul Gubser of Hubbard and William D. (Suzanne) Gubser of Sr. of Mentor; two sisters, Sallie Schrecengost of Herndon, Va., and Rosemary Gubser of Hubbard; a nephew, William D. (Jacqueline) Gubser Jr.; two nieces, Valerie Ann Gubser and Vanessa Marie Gubser; and a great-nephew, Daniel Edward Gubser.
Calling hours will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday at St. Stephen Church, 129 W. Park Ave. in Niles, where a prayer service will be at 7:30 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Friday at the church, where additional calling hours will be for an hour prior to the Mass.
Burial will be at Calvary Cemetery in Youngstown.
The Holeton Yuhasz Funeral Home in Niles is handling arrangements.
Condolences may be e-mailed to
Material contributions may be made in the Father Gubser’s memory to St. Stephen Tuition Angel Fund, 129 W. Park Ave., Niles, OH 44446.