Deacon Carmen Bischer, 68, of Upper Deerfield Township, a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Camden for almost 25 years, serving Holy Cross Parish in Bridgeton, died April 17.
Born in Bridgeton on Sept. 25, 1944, to the late Anthony and Violet Petecca Bischer, he was raised in Bridgeton, and graduated from Immaculate Conception School.
In his youth, he was part of the inaugural group that formed Bridgeton Little League. His love of baseball not only led him to become a lifelong Phillies fan, but also a part of Bridgeton High School’s varsity baseball team, which won a state title with him playing first base.
Graduating from Bridgeton High School in 1963, he attended Rutgers University and Pierce Junior College. He held positions in human resources at the Seabrook House and at the Lighthouse. He also worked for many years in information technology for Independent Management Services, Wheaton Glass, and had been a founding partner of CLM Associates. In 2007, Deacon Bischer retired as the administrative director for the Cumberland County Department of Health after an 18-year career with the county.
He was most proud of his work as a deacon for the Diocese of Camden and his service to Holy Cross parishioners, where he officiated at countless baptisms and funerals.
He was ordained a permanent deacon on Oct. 15, 1988. He was known as a devoted “people person” and expert conversationalist.
Deacon Bischer thought of his children as his most prized possession, and his marriage to his wife Kathy, for 48 years, “the best decision ever.”
“The first thing that struck me about Deacon Carmen Bischer was his smile and friendliness,” remembered Deacon Leo McBlain, director of the Diocese of Camden’s Office of the Diaconate. “He found it easy to engage people and that is an important quality in ministry,” he said.
In addition to Kathy, he is survived by son, Michael A. Bischer and his wife Darla of Upper Deerfield Twp.; daughter, Jennifer B. Rice and husband Brad of Bishopville, Md.; two grandsons, Brandon M. and Jason A. Bischer; and one granddaughter, Isabella R. Rice.
Deacon Bischer is also survived by one brother, James Bischer and wife Linda of Upper Deerfield Twp.; sisters-in-law, Mary Lynn Meandro (Peter), Patricia Wolf (Robert) and brother-in-law Allen Haaf (Robin) and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral Mass was celebrated April 23 at Immaculate Conception Church, Bridgeton. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery at Laurel Lawn, Bridgeton.
Memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, are requested to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, c/o The Good Shepherd Dining Hall, 46 Central Avenue, Bridgeton 08302 or to the charity of the donor’s choice.