Donald Potts, of Cassopolis

Published 11:16 am Monday, June 5, 2017

May 24, 1934 — May 29, 2017

The Rev. Donald G. Potts, 83, of Cassopolis, died peacefully Monday, May 29, 2017, in his residence, five days after his 83rd birthday and one day after the 57th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood.

He was born May 24, 1934, in Newark, New Jersey, the seventh of 13 children of Stuckey Sr. and Ophelia (Johnson) Potts.

He was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Willie Mae Robinson, Anna Ruth Jones and Hazel Marie Davis; and seven brothers, Harold Potts, James Potts, Stuckey Potts Jr., Nathaniel Lee Potts, twins Robert Potts and Albert Potts, and Leon Potts.

Donald Potts

Father Potts studied for the priesthood at Saint Francis College in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Immaculate Conception in Hastings, Nebraska. After his ordination, he furthered his studies in counseling and Spanish at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, New York University in New York and the University of Madrid in Spain.

Father Potts was the first African American priest to be ordained from Newark. He was ordained May 28, 1960, as a member of the Order of the Holy Cross (Crossiers). Father Potts taught at Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Lake Wawasee, Indiana, Immaculate Conception in Hastings and Sacred Heart Seminary in Fort Wayne.

Father Potts became a priest of the Diocese of Kalamazoo in 1983. His first parish was Our Lady Queen of Peace in Bridgman. He then served Immaculate Conception in Three Rivers and Saint Mary’s in Paw Paw before coming to Saint Ann in Cassopolis, where he retired in 2015 in his 55th year of ordination.

Father Potts will be greatly missed by family and friends. He is survived by his two sisters, Shirley Potts and Audrey Potts; two sisters-in-law, Flossie Potts and Audrey Potts; 10 nieces, Lucille McNally, Barbara Potts, Karen (Melvin) Hunt, Rosalind (The Rev. Lee) Johnson, Evette Potts, Yvonne Bogar, Donna Lynn (Mark) McKenzie, Sharon Jones, Shirley (Steve) Taylor and Stephanie Michelle Potts; 10 nephews, Ted (Starla) Potts, Raafi (Sheri) Muhammad, Lawrence Potts, Albert (Francine) Potts, Jerome Jr. (Felicia) Davis, Keith (Renay) Davis, Edward Potts, Derrick Jones, Stephen Potts and Christopher Potts; a host of great-nieces and great-nephews; and dear family friends, including former exchange student Jorge Gaytan, former student Tom (Anita) Veldman and parishioners Jon and Julie Biek.

Family and friends will gather from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at Saint Ann Catholic Church, 421 N. Broadway St., Cassopolis, with a scripture service at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday led by the Rev. Joseph E. McCormick, pastor of Saint Ann. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, 2017, at Saint Ann Catholic Church by the Most Rev. Paul J. Bradley, bishop of Kalamazoo, with a homily given by the Most Rev. James A. Murray, bishop emeritus of the Kalamazoo diocese. Father Potts will be laid to rest in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Cassopolis.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Connelly Chapel Wagner Family Funerals in Cassopolis.

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