Fr. Louis (Lou) Bartko, OFM, died Sunday, Oct. 1 at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati. Fr. Lou was 82 years old. Born on Sept. 12, 1941, in Toledo, Ohio, Fr. Lou was one of two children of Louis and Anna (Gurecky) Bartko. Although a spastic condition left him disabled and with a brace on his leg throughout childhood, Fr. Lou overcame his handicap sufficiently to attend Central Catholic High School in his hometown, where he first began discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Because of his parents’ failing health, then the death of his father shortly after graduation, he entered the workforce in order to care for and support his mother. He attended the University of Toledo, as well as Mercy College in Detroit. He received theological training at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. Inspired by the strong foundation of faith at home, his sister’s entrance into religious life and God’s persistent call, Fr. Lou entered the Franciscan Order on June 19, 1984, made his first profession on Dec. 14, 1985, professed solemn vows on Dec. 17, 1988, and was ordained June 9, 1990, at St. Francis Seraph Parish in Cincinnati at the age of 48. Over the years, Fr. Lou ministered as associate pastor at five parishes: Sacred Heart in Emporia, Kan.; St. Louis in Batesville, Ind.; Holy Rosary and St. Lucy in Homa, La.; and Sacred Heart in Peoria, Ill. He went on to serve as a chaplain at the Drake Center in Cincinnati from 2002 to 2005, after which he was assigned as associate pastor at St. Clement Parish in St. Bernard. Fr. Lou was also known for his attention to detail and recording significant events. When he began training to become a permanent deacon, he was asked to start keeping a journal. It grew into a hobby for him, and he came to enjoy keeping his own journal, as well as the chronicle of the friary (each Franciscan friary or assignment where friars are serving keeps a record of its activities for the Provincial Minster). Macular degeneration eventually forced Fr. Lou into semi-retirement from parish ministry. He eventually moved to St. Margaret Hall, where he continued to celebrate Mass for his fellow residents as his health allowed. Fr. Lou was preceded in death by his parents and friar classmate, Br. Josef Anderlohr, OFM. He is survived by his sister, Sr. Ann Bartko, OSC. Friars, family and friends will receive Fr. Lou’s body at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. The Mass of Christian Burial follows at 10 a.m. Interment will take place in the friars’ plot at St. Mary Cemetery immediately following Mass. Memorials may be made in care of FriarWorks, 1615 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.