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Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

December 7, 2023

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore at 11 a.m. on Friday, December 15, at Church of the Holy Family in Watertown. Bishop Terry R. LaValley, bishop of the Diocese of Ogdensburg, will be principal celebrant, and Father John M. “Mickey” Demo will be the homilist. Father Arthur LaBaff, V.F., will preside over the reception of the body at 3 p.m. on December 14 at Church of the Holy Family. Calling hours will follow from 3 to 6 p.m. Vespers, evening prayer, will be prayed at 6 p.m. Calling hours will continue on December 15 from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Burial will be in Glenwood Cemetery following the funeral Mass.

Msgr. Whitmore died Thursday, December 7, 2023, at Samaritan Hospital in Watertown, where he had been a patient for a brief time. He was 95.

Born April 7, 1929, in Watertown, he was the son of Eugene and Mabel (Bundy) Whitmore.

After graduating from St. Patrick’s School, Immaculate Heart Academy and Sisters Conservatory of Music, he entered Wadhams Hall Seminary-College in 1946, completing his theological studies at St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester. 

On May 22, 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Walter P. Kellenberg at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg. Msgr. Whitmore began his priesthood serving as parochial vicar at St. Mary's Church in Massena, a role he also held at St. Mary's Church in Ticonderoga. From 1957 to 1975, he was assigned to teach at Wadhams Hall Seminary-College. During that time, he also earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate from Fordham University. He served for a brief time as administrator and later pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Essex and Church of St. Philip and Jesus in Willsboro before returning to Wadhams Hall in 1977.

Msgr. Whitmore also served as Chairman of the Music Commission of the Worship Department from 1976 to 1979. In 1990, he became Pastor at Saint Vincent of Paul’s Church in Cape Vincent, a role he later held at St. Patrick’s Church in Chateaugay, St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid, St. Martin’s Church in Port Leyden and St. John’s Church in Lyons Falls. He also served as dean of the Adirondack Deanery from 1990 to 1995.

Pope John Paul II bestowed the title of Prelate of Honor to His Holiness upon Msgr. Whitmore on June 17, 1995. Msgr. Whitmore retired from active ministry in 2007. In retirement, he continued to serve as chaplain for the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood in Watertown and as a columnist for the North Country Catholic.

In April of 2023, he moved to the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, where he continued to celebrate Mass. He enjoyed his time with the sisters there. 

In addition to his parents, Msgr. Whitmore was predeceased by a brother, Bob. Msgr. Whitmore is survived by a niece, Kathy, and her husband, Doug; nephews Jimmy, Mike and John; and many great-nieces and nephews and many great-great nieces and nephews. Msgr. Whitmore was loved by all who had the pleasure of knowing him, including his family and friends, especially his dear friend, Joe Demo.

Arrangements are entrusted with Cummings Funeral Service, Watertown. Online condolences may be shared at www.cummingsfuneral.com.


#14 Msgr. Paul Litwin 2023-12-21 20:53
It touched me deeply to hear of the passing of my long time friend, teacher, and mentor. I was so glad to have been able to visit with him yearly in Watertown before Covid and driving him to Buffalo in 2018 to receive special recognition from our Seminary Alumni Association. I was privileged to have him vest me at my Ordination in 1979. I will forever cherish my years at Wadhams Hall with Fr. Paul directing musicals, especially "The Music Man" and "Guys and Dolls". The musical connection continued recently as he introduced me to his good friend Dr. Joseph Cannella and the Dvorak Violin Sonatina in G. I also enjoyed concelebrating with him at the Monastery of the Most Precious Blood, and meeting the Sisters and befriending their black lab, Mandy. Through it all you has been a strong guiding force in my life. Now, Fr. Paul, may you confidently join your melodious tenor voice to the choir of saints and angels to sing their unending song. I will join you at Mass everyday.
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#13 Elsie Scruggs 2023-12-21 13:34
I first met Msgr. Paul Whitmore when he came to St. Mary's Church in Massena as his first assignment after ordination. We became fast friends as I was then the organist there at that time. We further cemented our friendship when both he and I served on the Diocesan Music Commission many years ago. He was a very learned man, very gentle, very kind, and it was my distinct pleasure to have had him as my friend. May he enjoy the rich rewards with which I know he well deserves. God bless you, my dear friend.
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#12 James Milligan 2023-12-13 09:42
Monsignor Paul baptised my son 22 years ago and has been an inspirational influence in our lives ever since. HIs memory will be cherished.
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#11 Michael Shulkin 2023-12-12 17:54
Good teacher, good priest, good musician-he was the embodiment of a trifecta- I who was the organist at Wadhams Hall so long ago and he as the director of music formed a tandem of singing prayerful sacred liturgical music in the early 60's. He was certainly accomplished in all his endeavors and from the time I was his altar boy at St.Mary's in Massena in the 50's, he was an example to all of a dedicated priest with talent.
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#10 Jose Cannella 2023-12-12 00:44
I have been a dear friend of Msgr Paul for many years since we were neighbors and I followed him at St. Patrick’ s Church and School. He was a gifted organist and pianist and; since 1963, we have followed each other in various places to meet and specifically to join each other in piano and violin sonatas and duos. He was a dear friend of our families and as recently as last September was alert and active enough to go with us to the annual Dinner of The Sacred Heart Foundation in Watertown . He is now blessed with relief of his illnesses and welcomed into the arms of our Blessed Lord to whom he has devoted his whole life. Joe Cannella.
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#9 Mariane Nevin 2023-12-11 01:39
Thank you for being a good friend and confidant!! I’m so saddened over losing you but am so happy for you now that your home with our Lord!! I will never forget our conversations, praying together evening prayer and your kindness to me. I love you monsignor!! You will never be forgotten!! Rest In Peace!!
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#8 Deacon jim Chaufty 2023-12-10 19:40
My wife and I are very saddened at the death of Monsignor Paul. He married us 22 years ago and we have been close to him ever since. May he Rest In Peace..
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#7 Joseph Cannella 2023-12-09 11:50
Msgr Paul was a dear friend of our family from the time in grade school. We continued to visit each other specifically to play piano and violin duos and sonatas continuing after he retired. He was a gifted organist and pianist and could sight read complex music. He is dearly missed by all.
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#6 Theresa Brosnan 2023-12-09 09:50
He will always be Fr. Paul to be! He was such a dear friend to me in the Bronx when I first met him when he was going to Fordham University and helping at my parish, Holy Rosary. As an English major myself, we had many enlightened discussions on literature and on plays in NYC. He officiated at my marriage to my husband and we had the honor of visiting him at every location where he served. I’ll miss him!
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#5 Steve Newvine 2023-12-09 09:39
Monsignor Whitmore was my parents' pastor. As I began to realize my mom's cancer was terminal, I reached out to him. We became good friends for the rest of his life. I'm so thankful that I visited him at the Motherhouse infirmary in late October of this year. Our good Lord has welcomed Father Paul to the gates of heaven. Eternal rest grant unto him Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
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