Reverend Elmer W. Heindl, Associate Pastor (1980 – 2006)
Fr. Elmer Heindl (June 14, 1910 – July 17, 2006) was an associate pastor at St. Charles from 1980 – 2006. During that time, he also served as the Chaplain for St. Charles School and at several other local institutions.
Fr. Heindl was also a highly-decorated U.S. Army chaplain and was extremely active in the Greater Rochester community.
Heindl was born in Rochester, New York on June 14, 1910 to Florence May and William Casper Heindl. He was the oldest of 6 children, and graduated from St. Andrew’s Preparatory Seminary and St. Bernard’s Seminary to became a Catholic priest on June 6, 1936. Enlisting in March 1942, as a US Army chaplain, Heindl served in the Pacific. He was decorated in 1943 for aiding US troops while under mortar fire, and in 1944 received the Bronze Star for helping bury American dead in the Solomon Islands, and was awarded the Silver Star a year later in the Philippines. Also, in 1945, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “heroism under fire” in Manila on April 15, one of only 19 chaplains to have been awarded it. Heindl retrieved the body of an American casualty from a prison watchtower while under fire and then returned to rescue a wounded soldier with the aid of Private First Class Elmer Russell, who also received the Distinguished Service Cross. The two men gave aid to the dying soldier while continually under fire every time Russell used a flashlight to assess the injuries. Two days later, on April 17, Heindl rescued American colonel Lawrence Kermit White, bringing him to an aid station while under fire. Of these actions he stated:
“I went down there to do my duty as [a] chaplain, and that’s what saved me, [the distinguished service cross] doesn’t add one bit to my stature. Whatever happened was none of my doing whatsoever.”
After the war, Heindl served in the parishes of St. Charles Borromeo Church in Greece, St. Andrew and St. Mary in Rochester, Holy Trinity in Webster and St. Theodore in Gates, as well as on missions to Genoa and Fleming. In 1970 he was awarded the Legion of Merit, and he continued to serve until he retired in 1980. Heindl went on to serve with the Monroe County Veterans of Foreign Wars, the United Veterans Association of Monroe County and the Monroe County Veterans’ Advisory Committee, the latter awarded him the Veterans Advocate of the Year award in 1991.
Portions of this text from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia