Rev. Donald Blaes

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Reverend Donald A. Blaes, 89, of Belleville, IL, born December 7, 1930, in Belleville, IL, died Thursday, May 14, 2020, at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, O’Fallon, IL.

Fr. Blaes was ordained to the Catholic Priesthood on May 26, 1956.  Among his many assignments, Fr. Blaes was the founding principal of Mater Dei High School in Breese, IL, in 1958, and later was the founding principal of Althoff Catholic High School in 1964.  He served as Director of Guidance at two separate high schools in Colorado for 15 years. He was the longest serving counselor at Northglenn High School, Northglenn, CO.   Upon returning to Illinois, Father served as Principal at St. Paul High School, Highland, IL, Counselor of Griffin High School, Springfield, IL, and Director of Education at St. Mary’s Catholic Grade School, Centralia, IL.  Father was an adjunct Professor of Education at McKendree University, Lebanon, IL, from 1997 to 2000, then served as Pastor of St. George Catholic Church, New Baden, IL, from 2002 to 2006.

With a love for learning, he shared his many talents with students, not only in Illinois and Colorado, but in California as well.  Father taught thirteen different Psychology courses at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville, IL, and was a part-time counselor there for 17 years.  He retained contact with many former colleagues and students throughout the years.

A writer of some note, he put together a program called Guaranteed Graduates which proposed to guarantee that high school graduates could do what was expected of them when entering college.

Father Blaes was preceded in death by his parents, Otto J. and Malinda, nee Jung, Blaes; and a brother, Robert O. Blaes.

Surviving are a son, Gregory T. Blaes, and his children;
two brothers, Russell C. Blaes, and Dale L. Blaes;
a sister, Carol Jean Blue;
and nieces and nephews.

Memorials may be made to the Hincke-Sense Home for Retired Priests or to Althoff Catholic High School.  Condolences may be expressed to the family online at

Funeral: A private graveside service will be held. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at a later date.

Burial will be at St. Mary Catholic Church Cemetery, Trenton, IL.


23 Comments on Rev. Donald Blaes

Barbara Plungy said : Guest Report Mar 01, 2021 at 8:43 PM

Don left Northglenn High as I divorced and he helped me out by selling me a washer, dryer, Louie the refrigerator, and Bottomley! That doggie would just sit in front of a speaker and listen to the classical music he and Don shared such a love. He dearly loved his master. RIP Don.

  • Denver
  • Colorado
Dr. Diana Haytko said : Guest Report Mar 01, 2021 at 11:16 AM

Mr. Blaes, as I knew him, was a wonderful, helpful counselor at Northglenn High School in Colorado when I met him in 1979. He helped me with college planning and we stayed in touch for all of these years. He was always encouraging and very proud of me when I earned my PhD. I loved his Christmas letters. I will miss him. Condolences to all of his family.

  • Grimesland
  • North Carolina
Kember Switzer said : Guest Report Jun 26, 2020 at 11:41 AM

I am a graduate at The Body Therapy Center School of Massage- Donald was among my first clients as a student who decided to see me professionally after graduation. His support was appreciated and his feedback always assured me that I was in this field for a reason. We both shared a love for the Pacific Northwest and talked often about the beauty of Tacoma and the state of Washington in general. He always asked about my little girl and saw me on a bi-weekly basis. He was a supportive client, wonderful and pleasant person and he will never be forgotten by myself or my family. Rest In Peace Donald <3

  • Scott AFB
  • IL
James Joska said : Guest Report Jun 13, 2020 at 1:53 AM

Don was a counselor at the high school in Colorado when I was a teacher there. He was one of the kindest and most patient men I've ever known. One Christmas break he was a passenger in my sports car as I drove from Denver to St.Louis on the snow and ice of I-70; his tolerance and courage to endure such a trip surely is a sainthood qualification.

  • Carmichael
  • CA
Margie Carroll said : Guest Report Jun 09, 2020 at 10:27 PM

I knew Don when he lived in Colorado. He was an extremely kind man. He always stayed in touch by letters after he moved back to Illinois. I have kept some letters because they were so encouraging. He always made you feel glad you knew him, and that he knew you. I won't forget him.

  • Denver
  • CO
Jean-Marie BIEBEL said : Guest Report Jun 02, 2020 at 9:35 AM

J'ai connu Donald en France. Il est venu 2 fois en 2000 et 2003 pour voir Petit-Tenquin, le village de ses ancêtres, avec son ami Nicholas Biebel de Litchfield, Illinois. Depuis nous étions toujours restés en contact chaque fin d'année à l'occasion de Noël. Très attristé par ce décès, je présente mes condoléances à la famille et à ses proches.

  • Talange
  • France
Mary Frances Fleming said : Guest Report May 30, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Mr. Blaes was such a caring man. He was our principal at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Brawley, California (southern California by the Mexican border) where my children attended. He was loved dearly by everyone. He was so good to the children at our school and after he left he stayed in touch with many of us. He came back to visit throughout the years while he was able to travel. The Rev. Mr. Blaes will be missed. My condolence to all of his family.

  • Brawley
  • CA
Julie Reeves said : Guest Report May 30, 2020 at 12:53 AM

Don Blaes was a very kind and thoughtful principal at the small, rural catholic school in Brawley, California. Even though he was only there a year he stayed in close contact with several families. My daughters and I would visit him in Indio when he would come out in the spring and stay with his cousin. He was a treasure of a man. We will miss those visits and the Christmas poems. How shocking to see his brother passed shortly after he did. Our condolences to the family.

  • Brawley
  • CA
Kathleen Maret said : Guest Report May 26, 2020 at 10:36 AM

Thank you for letting me know of the passing of Fr. Blaes.. my deepest condolences to all of his family and friends! My husband Chris and I met Fr. Blaes at the College Church in the 80’s. We enjoyed speaking with him after mass and at other events and shared a common view on many subjects.. we shared a passion for music and the St. Louis Symphony, we frequently saw him there and always enjoyed our conversations. I always looked forward to his Christmas Card and his poems which captured the spirit of the year from Fr. Blaes view... I loved them and will miss their arrival in my mailbox. You are all in my thoughts and prayers... Fr. Blaes will be greatly missed, Kathy Maret

  • St. Louis
  • MO
John Bouc said : Guest Report May 25, 2020 at 1:06 PM

As campus minister at Althoff Catholic high school and as a parishioner of St. Mary's, Belleville, Fr. Blaes had become an important figure in my life. Among my cherished memories, it gives me great pride that, in what became his final year in this life, he would still deliver heartfelt, insightful and loving homilies to our students as he celebrated masses with us. His love for our students and school was always palpable. I will always consider him a role model of faith and ministry.

  • Belleville
  • IL
Gary Schneider said : Guest Report May 23, 2020 at 10:18 AM

My deepest sympathy to the Blaes family on the loss of both Fr Don and Russ. Two very fine men and who always treated us younger guys in the neighborhood well. God rest their souls.

  • IL
John B Krebs said : Guest Report May 23, 2020 at 8:38 AM

Father Blaes was not only a good person, priest and friend, but great in all those categories. He lived the true Christian life. He touched so many people's lives in such a positive way. We will miss you, Father. RIP

  • Carlyle
  • Illinois
Rosemarie Schrage said : Guest Report May 22, 2020 at 9:30 AM

Fr. Blaes was rhe last principal of St. Paul High School in Highland where I was the librarian and the German teacher. He was a most wonderful caring man. Always very supportive. I still have every note he wrote to me during this time and all the yearly Christmas poems he sent every year. We lost THE BEST!!!

  • Highland
  • IL
Marianne McElree said : Guest Report May 22, 2020 at 8:07 AM

Father Blaes was a dear friend. I met Father at Chautauqua Institution at Mass. We talked and became friends. He always asked me about my family and my job. We both looked forward to spending time at CHQ in the summer. I loved his annual Christmas card and poem. I will miss him. God Bless. My deepest sympathies.

  • Wexford
  • PA
Gregory Voss said : Guest Report May 19, 2020 at 12:57 AM

Father Blaes was such a wonderful principal at Althoff, a beloved and holy man.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Rich & Norma Brune said : Guest Report May 18, 2020 at 12:52 PM

Our sympathy and prayers to Fr Blaes' family. He will be remembered as a caring priest. Just received a special note from him, when health began to fail. Special thoughts to Carol Blue, his sister, who I had the privilege of working with for many years.

  • Millstadt
  • IL
Andy Gleeson said : Guest Report May 17, 2020 at 6:07 PM

I'm grateful for the time that Fr Blaes was my priest. One of the brightest priests I've ever encountered. A stoic German with a heart of gold. Other than his sermons he was a quiet, thoughtful man who let his actions speak for him. My condolences to his family and all those he so faithfully ministered to.

  • Belleville
  • Illinois
Jane F Beato said : Guest Report May 17, 2020 at 1:44 PM

My deepest sympathy to the family on the loss of your loved one. What a holy & kind priest that loved teaching & students. May he Rest In Peace

  • St. Louis
  • Mo
Ken Krausz said : Guest Report May 17, 2020 at 11:07 AM

RIP, Fr. Don. I reflect back on my days at Althoff, and you were a true leader. You will be missed, but always remembered.

  • Highland
  • IL
Kim esker said : Guest Report May 17, 2020 at 8:21 AM

He was such a caring, kind, generous, and smart man! I had him as a teacher and counselor when I went to SWIC and kept in touch with him over the years. I always loved our visits together and learned something every time. I know he is now in a better place where he can be free of any pain. ??❤️

  • Freeburg
  • IL
Juanita Schrage Leary said : Guest Report May 17, 2020 at 8:03 AM

Father Blaes was an important influence in challenging us high school students at Mater Dei to strive to do our best. I am a 1960 graduate of Mater Dei and am grateful for that guidance throughout my life.

  • Laurel
  • New York
DonnaHitpas said : Guest Report May 16, 2020 at 6:06 PM

Our deepest sympathy to his loving family. He was a dear friend to our entire family.

  • New Baden
  • Il
Mary Jo (Imming) Sybert said : Guest Report May 16, 2020 at 4:35 PM

What a loss to so many with whom he touched their lives, mine included. Nothing but good memories. With all of the rememberings; but, please don’t forget his wonderful singing voice!

  • Erlanger
  • KY. 41018

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