FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) – The search for a missing priest from his apartment in Franklin intensifies, six days after his first disappearance.
Father Anthony Kluckman, or John Frederick Luckman, has Alzheimer’s disease. The 75-year-old man left his building Thursday, July 21 at 1:35 a.m.
The Monastery of the Priests of the Sacred Heart was the last place Father Antoine was seen.
This week, his family offered a $10,000 reward for information that helps him get home, but so far the search has been frustrating with few clues.
Mary Gorski is the Director of Communications for the American Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. She knows Father Anthony well and said: ‘We feel every avenue of research has been used.’
Search dogs, sonars and professional search teams combed through the ponds, reservoirs, golf courses, parks and woods surrounding the Sacred Heart Priests Monastery.
There is still no sign of Father Anthony.
Gorski said: “The only clue we have at this time is the last security camera image of Father Anthony taken at around 1:35 a.m..”
It was the last time he was seen.
Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Father Anthony had never left before. Others had watched over him since he moved in just over a year ago.
Gorski said, “His fellow priests, his brothers and his community really watched him closely.”
Father Anthony grew up as a military brat, living in at least 10 states as a child. Gorski says it prepared him to answer God’s call and serve wherever needed.
For more than 20 years he was in Chamberlain, South Dakota, as chaplain at St. Joseph Indian School.
This is where Clare Willrodt worked with him. She said, “The kids loved him. I mean, part of the reason they got involved in so much.”
At Saint-Joseph, Father Anthony took on many roles. He loved the recreation center, bowled and refereed basketball games, made popcorn for the kids, and followed the lives of graduates.
Willrodt says he had a special gift for connecting, especially during his homilies. “He kind of walked around the church during his homily and if they answered the question, he would throw a Sacajawea coin at them, sometimes landing in the wrong place, but that was part of the fun.”
But in recent years, he has noticed a deterioration in his mental health. He celebrated his last mass a little over a year ago.
Willrodt said: “He did a wonderful job in his closing liturgy explaining the difficulty he was having. And it was wonderful, to see how honestly he could share that. I remember how much he poignantly expressed the difficulties he was facing. He spoke with wisdom and tenderness and it was truly touching.”
In the spring of 2021, he retired to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Gorski described the move as coming home to his family.
This is a family that now hopes and prays for a safe return.
Gorski said: “It’s very difficult. It is certainly like losing a member of your family. Everyone guesses what happened. What they should have done. love Father Anthony very much.”
As the search continues, authorities are contacting other areas where Father Anthony lived or ministered in case he had contacts there.
From South Dakota, Clare Willrodt said there were many candles lit on campus and in homes as people prayed for Father Anthony’s safe return. She said, “Because that’s our way of praying when we can’t pray constantly, and just have faith.”