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Rev. J. Robert Rioux C.S.C.

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. J. Robert Rioux, C.S.C., 92, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind. on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

He was born on June 19, 1924, to John (Jean) Philias and Elmire Jean (Joly) Rioux in New Bedford, Mass. He received the Sacraments and attended grammar school at St. Joseph Parish in New Bedford. After graduating from New Bedford Vocational School, he entered the United States Navy and served for three years during World War II. He participated in the V-12 Program in the Navy, and he received a World War II Medal of Victory. He was received into the Congregation of Holy Cross in September, 1947, professed his first vows on August 16, 1950, and made his final profession on August 16, 1953. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Notre Dame in 1952, a Master's from Holy Cross College, Washington, D.C. in 1955, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1956.

Fr. Rioux served as an instructor at Fr. Baker High School in Lackawanna, NY in September 1956. He was then sent to serve in the parish in Bennington, VT and to teach at the local Catholic high school. Someone with Fr. Rioux's background was then needed at King's College, where he served for a year before going to Notre Dame High School in Bridgeport, CT. He spent four years there with a one-year interval in order to complete an MA Degree in French and Spanish from Fordham. In 1965, he moved from Notre Dame High School to Albany and joined the staff of Father Peyton's Family Rosary Crusade. He stayed with Fr. Pat for a total of 13 years in two different time frames. He also got involved in fund raising for the crusades. After Vatican II, stayed in Madrid for the year long program, and in time got involved in the crusades in Milwaukee then Panama and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Once he returned to Albany, he became the Director of Development and oversaw the funding activities of the office there. In 1972, Fr. Rioux accepted a position as Fund Raising Consultant in Maryland, where clients were priests and nuns fund raising for their religious communities. After a couple of years, the University of Notre Dame extended an invitation to Fr. Rioux to interview for a staff position in the Notre Dame Development Office. He became the Director of the Annual Fund and was successful at it. While at Notre Dame, Fr. Rioux created the Subway Alumni Association and co-founded the Sorin Society. Fr. Rioux remained in this position for three years, before accepting a position as Director of Planned Giving at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois. While there, he lived in the local parish and made many friends among the faculty. In his fifth year in Macomb, Fr. Rioux was persuaded to return to the Family Rosary Crusade, this time for seven years. In 1988, Fr. Rioux enrolled in a renewal program in Oakland, Calif. at the School of Applied Theology. In time, the director of the school learned of his background and approached him about helping out. He raised funds while attending as a student and at the end of the year, he became their new Director of Development for the next six years, when his Provincial in the East asked him to return to North Dartmouth to assist in 1994. In 2001, Fr. Rioux became Superior and became an elder when the term ended. Fr. Rioux moved to Holy Cross House in 2012.

Preceding him in death are his parents, John and Elmire Rioux; brothers, Armand Joseph Rioux, Roland (Rock) Rioux, and Arthur P. Rioux; sisters, Lillian (Rioux) McCarthy, Ina (Rioux) Bissonnette LaFrance, Annette Jeanne (Rioux) Leger, and Marie Claire Rioux, who entered the convent and assumed the name Sr. Jeanne DeChantal, SSJ.

He is survived by a sister-in-law Jeannette (Fenette) Rioux of New Bedford, Mass., as well as several nephews and nieces.

Visitation at the Chapel of Mary, Stonehill College, Easton, MA, will take place Thursday (Sept. 8, 2016) from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., with a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday (Sept. 9, 2016) at the Chapel of Mary, Stonehill College, Easton, MA. Burial will follow at the Holy Cross Community Cemetery at Stonehill College. Kaniewski Funeral Home of South Bend, IN and Kane Funeral Home of Easton, MA are in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross via: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, 500 Washington Street, North Easton, MA 02356-1299 or online at