Abbot Warren Heidgen was born Leon Joseph Heidgen in Oak Park, Ill., on Nov. 16, 1934 and passed away peacefully on June 30, 2018. He was the first son of Leon and Teresa Heidgen. He spent most of his youth in Elmhurst, Ill. and enjoyed playing football and baseball in high school. After high school, he chose to join the priesthood and selected Benedictine Order and Holy Cross Abbey College for his training and education in 1952. He was admitted to the novitiate at Holy Cross Abbey in 1954. He was accepted for first vows in 1955 and took the name Frater Warren. He was ordained in April 1960.
His first assignment as a new priest was in 1961 at St. John the Evangelist in Longmont, Colo. Shortly thereafter, he was assigned to Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, Colo. as an assistant to Father Edward Vollmer. In 1965, he was reassigned to Sacred Heart of Jesus in Boulder, as assistant, and then in 1968, appointed pastor. On June 9, 1979, he was elected the sixth abbot of Holy Cross Abbey in Canon City, Colo. and remained there until 1985.
Father Warren next spent 14 years as pastor at St. Rose of Lima in Buena Vista, Colo. While there, he had the fortunate opportunity to accompany four different groups of young people and parents to World Youth Days in Paris, Rome, Toronto and Cologne. In 2003, he became the Administrator of St. Mary of the Rockies in Bailey, Colo. While at St. Mary, Father Warren was able to bring his good and long-time experience in parishes to help that struggling parish begin to form some definite community spirit. He remained there until 2007.
In September 2008, he happily retired to live at Assumption Abbey in Richardton, N.D. He spent his remaining days there in relaxed contentment, enjoying his duties as visiting priest at the local hospitals as well as in Cheyenne, Wyo., cemetery caretaker and grounds caretaker, among other things.
Father Warren is survived by his brother Charles Heidgen of Chicago, Ill. and Mary Therese Pollard of Santa Rosa, Calif., as well as a multitude of grateful and loving parishioners from the Catholic churches where he served over the years. He will be deeply missed.