The Rev. Bernard Kuczborski, a Baltimore priest in the order of the Franciscan Friars Conventual, died yesterday morning at Stella Maris in Timonium of complications from a heart attack. He was 85.
Born Wenceslas Kuczborski in Baltimore to Polish immigrants, he was one of seven children. He attended St. Stanislaus parochial school in Fells Point and entered the Franciscans in 1940.
He studied philosophy and theology at St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Mass. He took the name Bernard when he was ordained in 1947.
Father Kuczborski served in Riverside, N.J., before moving to St. Stanislaus Kostka, the church he attended in his youth, in 1959. He left St. Stanislaus in 1968 for a church in Clifton, N.J., then came back to Baltimore five years later. He was a priest at St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church for 24 years and at St. Stanislaus for four years before retiring in 2001.
"He was a tremendous preacher," said the Rev. Berard Dudek, a priest at St. Clement Mary Hofbauer Roman Catholic Church in Rosedale. "People enjoyed the sermons that he gave."
Father Kuczborski was known for his visits to the sick and the elderly. He would give them Communion in their homes and in hospitals, Father Dudek said.
"He was very well-liked by the people he served," said the Very Rev. Michael Kolodziej, Provincial of the Saint Anthony of Padua Province, which includes most of the states on the East Coast. "He was known for being very affable, and for his smile."
Father Kuczborski was also devoted to his family and friends, said his sister, Anna Manko of Baltimore. Every time a sibling had a birthday, he would organize the party, Mrs. Manko said.
He also enjoyed reading, Broadway matinees, a good meal, fine wine and a cigar, said his niece, Bernadette "Bonnie" Thomson, 57, of Richmond, Va.
"I never saw a food that he turned down," Mrs. Thomson said.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Casimir, 2736 O'Donnell St. in Baltimore.
In addition to his sister and niece, Father Kuczborski is survived by another sister, Cecilia Kuczborski of Baltimore; and two other nieces and a nephew.