Deacon Ramon C. Datz, a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Rochester for nearly four decades who ministered in western Monroe County, died Sept. 29, 2021. He was 87 years old.
Deacon Datz was a graduate of Rochester’s St. Andrew’s Seminary, Aquinas Institute and St. John Fisher College. He served in the United States Navy as an aviator, flying P-2 Neptune jets for 18 years. He was a longtime employee of Eastman Kodak Co. before his department was sold to IBM, from which he retired in 1998 as a purchasing agent.
Deacon Datz was ordained to the permanent diaconate on April 9, 1983, by Bishop Matthew H. Clark at Sacred Heart Cathedral, becoming a member of the second class of permanent deacons in the diocese. He served at St. Vincent DePaul Parish, Churchville (1983-84); St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Hamlin (1984-1999); the Newman Center at SUNY Brockport (2000-2004); and with the Hamlin Association of Ministers (2000-09). He reached senior status in 2009.
Deacon Datz also served as executive director of Life Solutions, a Hamlin organization assisting the area’s needy that originated at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.In addition, he volunteered with the Cephas prison ministry at Albion Correctional Facility, was a member of Knights of Columbus St. John XXIII Council, and was active in the Lions Club as well.
Deacon Christopher Fisher, current parish deacon at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, said the example of Deacon Datz’s deep faith influenced the practice of his own faith.
“He was a major part of my decision to pursue a ministry in the diaconate,” Deacon Fisher said, adding that Deacon Datz’s surviving wife, Barbara, was an important part of her husband’s ministries.
Mary Arnold, who performed prison ministry in Albion along with Deacon Datz, noted that he was head of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at the prison and had a strong connection with the female inmates there.
“Deacon Ray knew that the lives of the women were difficult. He and the volunteers not only answered their questions about the church, but gave them a genuine feeling of the church as a community of believers in the peace of Christ,” Arnold remarked.
In addition to his wife, Deacon Datz is survived by his children, Theresa (Joseph) Westbay, Charles (Catherine) Datz, Michael (Jane) Datz and Gretchen Foehner; his grandchildren, Katherine (Matthew Kirkpatrick) Westbay, James Westbay, Megan Datz, Farrah Foehner, Cole Foehner and George Foehner; and his sister, Sister Carol Datz, SSND.
Calling hours for Deacon Datz will take place Oct. 7, 2021, from 5 to 7 p.m. — beginning with a prayer service at 5 p.m. — at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, 3747 Brick Schoolhouse Road, Hamlin. His funeral Mass will be celebrated Oct. 8, 2021, at 10 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Interment will be at St. Vincent DePaul Cemetery in Churchville.
Memorial donations can be made to Life Solutions of Hamlin Food Pantry, 1696 Lake Road N., Hamlin, NY 14464; or to St. Ann’s Home, 1500 Portland Ave., Rochester, NY 14621.