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Maryland horseman Francis Tierney, 97, dies

December 19, 2017
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Maryland horseman Francis J. Tierney, 97, of Chesapeake City, Md., died Dec. 12.
 
He was born June 27, 1920, in Newark, Del., the second of 11 children. He attended Newark Public School, then entered St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md., followed by St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, graduating in 1942 with a BA in philosophy. He continued studying theology and was ordained to the Catholic priesthood for the Diocese of Wilmington, Del., in December 1945.

For 31 years, Father Tierney served as pastoral assistant at St. Mary's, St. Ann's, and St. Helena's in Wilmington, Good Shepherd in Perryville, Md., and was chaplain at the Veteran's Hospital at Perry Point. He also served as Captain and Chaplain in the Delaware National Guard, then as Pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Ridgely, Md. He was founding Pastor of St. Polycarp Parish in Smyrna, Del., then returned to the Wilmington area as Pastor of St. Mary Magdelain Parish and Dean of Suburban Wilmington.

After a brief leave of absence, he returned to Ridgley, Md., as pastor until his retirement from active ministry and laicization.

Married to Carol Gerstenberg in 1976, they devoted themselves to breeding, training, and harness racing and settled in Chesapeake City. Among the young people who were associated with his harness stable was Joe Holloway.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, of 41 years; sisters, Gertrude McKayand Marguerite Downey; brother, Joseph; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Wednesday (Dec. 20) at 11 a.m. at St. Rose of Lima Church, 301 Lock Street, Chesapeake City, MD 21915. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. Burial will follow the service at St. Rose of Lima Cemetery.

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