Deacon Laurence “Larry” Van Etten, who served as a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Rochester for 37 years, died Feb. 22, 2020. He was 76 years old.
Deacon Van Etten was ordained by Bishop Emeritus Matthew H. Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral on April 9, 1983, as part of the diocese’s second class of permanent deacons.
His assignments included St. Charles Borromeo, Greece (1983-93); St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport (1995-2005); and the Newman Community at SUNY Brockport, where he ministered with his wife, Margot, who was campus minister at the time. He also worked at homeless shelters and in prison ministry at the Albion Correctional Facility, where he helped create a weekend retreat for the women there.
His wife remembers him as a man of deep abiding faith, who, in addition to working with the Newman Community, also was part of an ecumenical group of clergy that performed burial liturgies for people who died poor and without family. He also represented the diocese on the Greater Rochester Community of Churches.
“He was an incredibly kind and generous person who has just touched so many lives, and I have been inundated with messages from people whose lives he touched and changed,” Margot Van Etten said.
In addition to his wife, Deacon Van Etten is survived by his sister, Toni (Ron) Rohe, and brother, Daniel Van Etten; nephews, Dan (Christine) and Alec (Amy) Rohe; niece, Lisa Van Etten; grandnieces, Rachel and Leah Rohe; and many dearly loved cousins.
Deacon Van Etten’s calling hours will from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 28, 2020, at St. Monica Church, 831 Genesee St., Rochester, where his funeral liturgy will take place at 11 a.m. Feb. 29, 2020.
Donations in his memory may be made to Emmanuel Church of the Deaf at St. Monica or to the House of Mercy, 285 Ormond St., Rochester.