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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

RHOMBERG, Thomas (Father). (Dubuque, IA, Nov. 20, 1927--Dubuque, IA, Mar. 12, 2014). The son of Joseph and Madeline (Enzler) Rhomberg Sr. and grandson of the founder of the DUBUQUE STAR BREWING COMPANY, Father Rhomberg graduated from LORAS COLLEGE and attended the University of Iowa law School for one year before deciding to become a priest. He attended the Theological College at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and was ordained on June 6, 1953, in Christ the King Chapel, Loras College by Bishop Loras Lane.

Father Rhomberg taught social science at Loras on his way to being appointed director of CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE. He served as a delegate on the board of the National Conference of Catholic Charities and represented Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas on issues affecting social legislation in Washington, D.C. Until July 1974, he was a member of the Iowa Crime Commission and chaired the corrections committee which directed $350,000 toward the construction of the Dubuque County-City Law Enforcement Center.

Father Rhomberg's activity in civic organizations included the advisory boards of Operation New View and Area Residential Care and membership in the Iowa Conference of Catholic Charities and the Iowa Welfare Association. He was a delegate to the 1960 White House Conference for Youth and Children, White House Conference for the Aged in 1961, and in 1966 he attended the Iowa Study Committee on long-range child welfare needs.

In 1974 Father Rhomberg was the recipient of the Telegraph Herald's FIRST CITIZEN AWARD. As president of the non-profit Ecumenical Housing Inc., Father fought a long and successful fight promoting the construction of ECUMENICAL TOWER, a 110 apartment building in downtown Dubuque. He also served on the fund-raising committee for the Dubuque YM-YWCA Community Center. He directed the development of Carter Plaza, an eight unit apartment building sponsored by the Catholic Charities and constructed in 1970 for moderate income families. Father Rhomberg also directed the construction of the 73-unit apartment Kennedy Manor sponsored by Ecumenical Housing Inc.

Father Rhomberg served at Sacred Heart Parish, Monticello, August 1953 until 1954; Loras Academy 1954 -1957; secretary to the Archbishop 1957-1958; Director of Catholic Charities 1958-1982; pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Maquoketa 1982-1987; pastor of Nativity Parish - Dubuque 1987-l989; and pastor as St. Joseph Parish, Elkader and Sacred Heart Parish, Volga 1989-1997.

After his retirement in 1997 he volunteered as sacramental minister at St. Anthony Parish and as Chaplain for the Dubuque Police, Fire Department and the City/County jail. In 2008 he was the original member of the Opening Doors board of directors from when it incorporated in 1999.



Feltes, Kimberly. "Retired Priest Still Giving Back," Telegraph Herald, November 10, 2008, p. 42

Obituaries. Dubuque Today.com Online: http://www.dubuquetoday.com/obituaries.cfm

Notable Local Deaths, Chronology 2014, Telegraph Herald, January 1, 2015, p. 2