Fr. Gerald Quintal (Sentinel archives)
Fr. Gerald Quintal (Sentinel archives)

UPDATED OCT. 13, 3:10 P.M.

Father Gerald Quintal, a pastor who had long stays at parishes and who was former vocations director in the Archdiocese of Portland, died Oct. 4 in his sleep. He was 81. There will be a private graveside service.

Born in 1939 in Sioux City, Iowa, at age 3 he came with his family to Tigard, where he attended first grade at St. Anthony school. The family moved next to Delake on the coast, where he completed grade school and three years at Taft High School.

In 1956, he entered the minor seminary at Mount Angel. He remained there for the first two years of college and in 1958 won a prize for dramatic reading.

The Archdiocese of Portland then transferred him to St. Thomas Seminary in Kenmore, Washington. He studied theology there before being ordained in 1965 by Archbishop Edward Howard at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

He was associate pastor at St. James Parish in McMinnville, Holy Family in Portland and St. Francis in Portland.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, Father Quintal served in the archdiocese as director of vocations, director of Propagation of the Faith and director of the Holy Childhood Society. He also was Serra Club chaplain, director of the St. John Vianney House of Studies and director of the Search, a vocations program. He led many ambitious vocations retreats and the number of seminarians climbed during his tenure.

“Much of the credit for this has to go to the priests who have supported vocations through their own enthusiasm, witness and sense of joy in the ministry of Christ,” he told the Sentinel in 1976.

Father Quintal served as a priest adviser to the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Priestly Life and Ministry in 1977 and 1978. During that time, he led a major survey of local clergy, religious and lay leaders to learn their attitudes toward ministry.

He then went to St. Edward Parish in Keizer, where he served as pastor for a dozen years and was vicar of the region. At St. Edward, he established neighborhood groups to enliven parish life and build relationships. He would say Mass at homes.

“The purpose of St. Edward's Journey,” Father Quintal told the Sentinel in 1979, “is to provide our people with an opportunity to express and discuss their needs and interests, build neighborhood and parish unity to

give guidance in parish programs and leadership, and to give everyone an experience in a small personalized Mass."

He then moved on to St. Philip in Dallas, where he served for most of two decades. He served for a time at St. Joseph in Cloverdale before retiring. He led various series including one called “Vacationing Catholics” for those who had become inactive in the church. In 2009, Archbishop John Vlazny lauded him for the growth of St. Philip Parish.

He is survived by siblings Tom (Julia) Quintal, Sharon (Steve) Caputo and Dorothy Jacobs.

“Father Jerry loved the liturgy and showed this in the reverence and care he brought to each celebration,” said an obituary sent by family and friends. “He was a peacemaker in places where division had gripped a community; he brought healing and unity.”

Donations in his honor can go to help families who lost homes in wildfires: