ENFIELD - A Connecticut community is mourning the loss of a beloved priest, while the man’s wife awaits a court hearing for allegedly abusing him.
Family and friends of Father Edward Goetz said goodbye to him in a memorial service at Holy Trinity Church on Sunday.
"Father Ed" was described by a member of the church as amazingly compassionate, down-to-earth and selfless.
“You look at fire, police, clergy.. he also worked in the school system as an IT professional until recently retiring,” parishioner Mark Lillis said. “A man of many talents.”
Goetz was an instructor with the State of Connecticut Fire Academy and a state police chaplain.
Last year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
“We all knew the reality that pancreatic cancer is a pretty tough one to beat but with the attitude of him and prayers of the people, we hoped things would move forward,” Lillis said.
The last time Lillis and other church members saw Goetz was before he went into chemotherapy in the fall but then his wife, apparently, was holding anyone else back from visiting him.
“That kind of made me and others a little uncomfortable - that all we could do is write some cards," Lillis said. "All we would get is feedback from his caregiver, his wife, about his prognosis."
Lillis said members of the church didn’t understand why they couldn’t see Goetz. After all, he supported so many in their times of tragedy, and it is part of their faith.
“People wanted to see him and share their love, just like he was a passionate visitor when we were all in the hospital or our loved ones were in the hospital. We wanted to return the favor,” he said.
The church community is learning there may be more to the story.
“Allegedly, his wife had assaulted him in the hospital. It is all alleged. It is all in the court information. Nobody knows for sure, but it is an incredible twist that has got people really wrenching their gut about what could we have done,” Lillis said.
The community is wishing they could have done more for the man who did so much for them.
“Everybody loves him. Everybody will miss him and nobody will ever forget him,” he said. “We just hope the true story comes out and we find out what really went on and if there’s justice to happen, justice is served.”
The wife, Cathleen Goetz was arrested March 24 for intentional cruelty to persons, third-degree assault of an elderly person, and three counts of disorderly conduct.
Cathleen Goetz was released on a $25,000 cash bond and is due in court May 16. According to friends of Goetz, a burial service is not known at this time.