ROCHESTER, N.Y. Father Robert F. McNamara, a historian/archivist, prolific author and seminary instructor, died on May 22 the Sisters of Mercy Motherhouse in Rochester following a short illness.
He was 98 years old and had been a priest for 72 years.
Father McNamara was born on Nov. 3, 1910, in Corning, N.Y. He attended Georgetown and Harvard universities, as well as the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He received his licentiate in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, also in Rome, where he was ordained on Dec. 8, 1936.
He was an assistant pastor in Rochester, chaplain of St. Ann's Home in Rochester and associate editor of the Catholic Courier, newspaper of the Diocese of Rochester.
In 1938 Father McNamara was appointed professor of church history at St. Bernard's Seminary, where he continued to teach until it closed in 1981. During that time he also served from 1940-79 as weekend assistant at a parish in Irondequoit.
He wrote many histories of parishes in the diocese, as well as a history of the Diocese of Rochester in 1968 that he updated in 1993. He also established the Dioceses archives.
Father McNamara was a frequent contributor and resource for the Catholic Courier for several decades.
Father McNamara moved to Irondequoit's St. Thomas the Apostle Church in retirement in 1981. He was very active in that parish for 21 years.
He relocated to the Mercy Motherhouse in 2002
Bishop Matthew H. Clark of Rochester presided at a Mass of Christian Burial on May 28 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church. Interment was in St. Mary's Cemetery in Corning.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Sisters of Mercy, 1437 Blossom Rd., Rochester, NY 14610.