Father John Rasmussen will be remembered for his kindness and his work as a priest in Mackay and throughout Cental Queensland. Picture: Contributed by the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton
Father John Rasmussen will be remembered for his kindness and his work as a priest in Mackay and throughout Cental Queensland. Picture: Contributed by the Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton

'Great kindness': GPS legend turned priest remembered

FATHER John Rasmussen will be remembered as down to earth and humble - a man of great kindness and humility who believed in the goodness of people.

The retired priest died in Mackay on January 10, aged 81. His Requiem Mass was held at St Joseph's Catholic Church, North Mackay on January 17.

 

Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton
Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton

Born at the Mater Hospital in Gordon Street, Mackay on July 1, 1938, Fr Rasmussen was the fifth of Catherine and ­Arthur Rasmussen's seven children.

He attended prep school at Sisters of Mercy before moving to the Christian Brothers for his primary education and later Nudgee College, Brisbane, for his senior years, where he was college captain.

Patrick Rasmussen said his brother had been an outstanding athlete.

"He broke the GPS record (Great Public Schools) for 880 yards and had a dead heat for the mile and broke it by 12 seconds. That was 1956," he said.

 

Fr John Rasmussen was a champion athlete as a teenager. Picture: Contributed
Fr John Rasmussen was a champion athlete as a teenager. Picture: Contributed

After graduation, John Rasmussen spent seven years at Pius XII Seminary, Banyo, prior to being ordained a priest on June 28, 1963, at St Patrick's Catholic Church, Mackay.

He was appointed assistant priest at St Joseph's Cathedral, Rockhampton in 1964 and it was during this time that he helped establish a credit union for the parish, the St Joseph Catholic Parish Credit Union.

 

Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton
Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton

In 1981 it amalgamated with the Park Avenue Parish Credit Co-operative Society Ltd and became Capricornia Credit Union Ltd, now known as The Capricornian.

"He was very proud of his role," Mr Rasmussen said.

Fr Rasmussen's diocesan appointments from 1969 to 2008 included assistant priest at Longreach, especially at Isisford; assistant priest at Theodore; administrator at Sarina; assistant priest at Burleigh Heads; administrator at St Joseph's Cathedral, Rockhampton; assistant priest at Yeppoon; parish priest at Moranbah; parish priest of Marian and Finch Hatton; parish priest at Mt Morgan; and parish priest at Farleigh.

 

Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton
Fr John Rasmussen, who died in Mackay on January 10, 2020. Picture contributed by Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton

He reconnected with a fellow Nudgee student, Sandy Kidd, during his time in Longreach. Mr Kidd owned a plane and would fly Fr Rasmussen when needed.

During his time in the west he became interested in indigenous welfare and communities and spent his sabbatical at Nungalinya College, Northern Territory, a combined churches training college for indigenous Australians.

Mr Rasmussen said his brother seemed most at home during his time as parish priest at Farleigh and would spend days off at the family home in Eimeo.

In 2008 he retired to Eimeo where he enjoyed being by the ocean and walking along the beach.

 

Father John Rasmussen will be remembered for his kindness and his work as a priest in the Mackay and Queensland. Picture:Contributed
Father John Rasmussen will be remembered for his kindness and his work as a priest in the Mackay and Queensland. Picture:Contributed

Seven years later he became a resident of Francis of Assisi Home, West Mackay, after being diagnosed with dementia.

Mr Rasmussen said his brother enjoyed living at the home.

The family thanked the sisters and the staff for the care they provided during Fr Rasmussen's three years there.

Fr Rasmussen's family includes Vera and Bill (dec) Fordyce, Bill (dec) and Colleen Rasmussen, Rita and Peter (dec) Corby, Margaret and Peter (dec) Landers, Patrick and Bernice Rasmussen and Carmel and Geoff Brown.

He was interred at Mt Bassett Cemetery.



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