Monsignor John Cuddy, who led Macon’s St. Joseph Catholic Church from 1974 until his retirement in 2004, died Friday.
Vernon Knight, the church’s parochial vicar, described the 88-year-old as a “very humble, holy man.”
“We’ve lost someone who has done a lot of good work,” Knight said.
The son of a New Haven, Connecticut, police officer, Cuddy was ordained in 1953.
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After serving four years as a priest in Columbus, Cuddy was appointed superintendent of all Catholic schools in Georgia, a post he held until 1968.
He served at other churches and was assigned to what was then called St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in 1974.
Among other accomplishments, Cuddy led a major capital improvement program in 2002. It renovated a 1950s-era school building and restored the church.
Days before his Golden Jubilee in 2003, Cuddy was mugged and robbed in his Atlanta motel room.
Then 75, Cuddy told The Telegraph he answered a knock at the door and was attacked, knocked unconscious and cut several times on his throat.
“I'm fortunate to be alive,” he said. “I've no doubt the Lord was with me.”
After leaving the church’s rectory in 2004, Cuddy moved into an apartment on nearby High Street and later into an assisted living facility. He recently had been under nursing care.
A $3.6 million middle school academic building at Macon’s Mount de Sales Academy was named in Cuddy’s honor, dubbed Father John Cuddy Hall, in 2014.
A statement from the Catholic school’s president, David Held, was posted on Facebook Friday.
“Through his ministerial work, he touched and shaped the lives of parents, alumni and friends of all faiths,” Held wrote. “Countless were blessed by his leadership, his example and his pure heart.
“He was a faithful servant of God and his legacy will endure forever,” Held wrote.