Rev. Dennis C. Klemme - Born to eternal life on Tuesday, August 9, 2022, at the age of 90. Beloved son of the late Carl and Vanetta (O’Brien) Klemme. Loving brother of the late Margaret (Peg) (Albert) Budlong. Dear uncle (and Godfather) of Elizabeth (Andrew) Kammes, James (Lise) Budlong, Catherine Budlong, Janet (Rolf) Ingersoll, Thomas (Donna) Budlong. Further survived by great nieces and nephews, cousins, other relatives, and many friends. Father Klemme dearly loved his twenty-two foster brothers and their families.
Born on August 13, 1931, in West Allis, Wisconsin, Father began his priestly formation at St. Francis Minor Seminary in St. Francis from 1951—1954 and St. Francis Major Seminary in St. Francis 1954—1957. Father was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1957, by Most Reverend Albert G. Meyer at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee.
Father Klemme was first assigned to St. James Parish in Mukwonago on June 21, 1957, as Temporary Assistant. The great love of his life was to be a pastor for he truly loved to serve God’s people. However, he was soon asked to begin graduate studies at North American College in Rome during August 1957—1960 and received a Doctorate in Canon Law. On August 18, 1960, he was assigned as Canon Lawyer to the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He was appointed Chaplain at the Carmelite Monastery in Pewaukee on July 1, 1963. To both of these tasks he brought a pastor’s care, wisdom and understanding. On December 10, 1963, Father was assigned Secretary of the Matrimonial Tribunal at the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and was appointed Officialis of that Tribunal on April 1, 1976. Father Klemme was appointed Episcopal Delegate for Ecclesiastical Processes for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on January 22, 1980. He was loaned to the Diocese of Venice, FL, during July 16, 1985—June 30, 1988 to use his experience to set up a marriage tribunal for the budding diocese of Venice, FL. The additional 1200 cards added to his Christmas list in FL witness to the love, joy and a pastor’s care he shared in his ministry there. Father was appointed Adjutant Judicial Vicar at the Matrimonial Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on July 1, 1988. During these years he also enjoyed offering Mass and other sacraments at local parishes. He retired on August 31, 1999, yet continued ministry to the Carmelite Monastery in Pewaukee and various local parishes while the roots of his prayer life and love for God’s people kept growing ever stronger and deeper. His trademark—“God love ya!” still invites us to seek his help, his prayers and his joy.
A concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for Father Klemme will be celebrated at the Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus, on Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 11 a.m. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki, Presider and Rev. Jude Peters, OCD, Homilist. Priest friends and former colleagues are invited to concelebrate; please bring an alb and white stole. Visitation will be held on Thursday, August 18, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. up to the time of the funeral Mass at the Basilica and National Shrine of Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill, 1525 Carmel Road, Hubertus. A private burial will be at Calvary Cemetery, Wisconsin Dells.