Father Lawrence W. Sansom, a diocesan priest for 67 years who logged parish assignments in 10 of the Rochester Diocese’s 12 counties, died Dec. 9, 2008, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse in Pittsford after a long illness. He would have turned 95 years old on Jan. 4, 2009.
Father Sansom grew up in Rochester’ s Immaculate Conception Parish and attended the parish school. He graduated from St. Andrew’s and St. Bernard’s seminaries in Rochester and was ordained June 7, 1941.
He served as assistant priest at St. Joseph Parish, Wayland (1941); St. Mary, Canandaigua (1941-42); St. Anthony, Elmira (1942-43); St. Augustine, Rochester (1943-44); St. Agnes, Avon (1944-48); Church of the Epiphany, Sodus (1948); Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Rochester (1948-50); St. Bridget, Rochester (1950-51); St. Theodore, Gates (1951-53); St. Mary, Corning (1953-56); St. James, Waverly (1956-58); St. John the Evangelist, Spencerport (1958-63); and Holy Family, Auburn (1963-66).
“They needed somebody, so they called on me. I guess I was a utility person — infield, outfield, what have you,” the well-traveled Father Sansom quipped in a 2006 Catholic Courier feature.
Father Michael Conboy, diocesan director of priest personnel, recalled Father Sansom as a priest with “a very even temperament. He was able to get along with a number of people.” Father Conboy remarked that Father Sansom’s easygoing ways were especially welcomed in parishes where “sometimes pastors were noted to be a little on the cranky side.”
In 1966 Father Sansom assumed his first pastorate, as head of St. James the Apostle Parish in Trumansburg. He remained there until 1970, when he became pastor of St. Mary of the Lake, Watkins Glen, and St. Benedict, Odessa (1970-73).
Father Sansom ministered from 1973-75 in the Diocese of Orlando, Fla., returning to this diocese as assistant pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Rochester, until 1983.
After retiring as an active priest, Father Sansom spent a few more years in Florida before coming back again to Rochester in 1989. He had resided for the last several years at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse.
He is survived by his sister, Elizabeth “Betty” Jarek, as well as several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Father Sansom’s funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 12, 2008, at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, with Bishop Matthew H. Clark presiding and Father Bruce Ammering serving as homilist. Interment was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Donations in memory of Father Sansom may be made to the Sisters of St. Joseph, 150 French Road, Rochester, NY 14618.