Father Henry was diagnosed with cancer in September 1995 and had returned to the abbey from being pastor of St. Mary’s, St. Benedict, St. Bede, Kelly, and St. Patrick’s, Corning, all in Nemaha County.
Robert Deters was born in Seneca, Kan., and was raised on a farm near there. His early education ended at the eighth grade. He served in the U.S. Army from 1949-1952. He later entered St. Benedict’s College and took a degree in English in 1959. As Frater Henry he had made his first vows on July 11, 1957. He was ordained to the priesthood July 1, 1963.
Father Henry earned a master’s degree in theology from Marquette University in 1965 and taught at St. Benedict’s College and at Benedictine College. He was also a dormitory prefect. His ministry continued when he volunteered to serve at St. Joseph’s Priory in Mineiros, Goias, Brazil in 1975. He was known as Dom Enrique! He served three parishes there before he returned to the abbey in 1982.
From 1882 until his death he served in the abbey parochial ministry at St. Benedict’s, Atchison, Sacred Heart, and St. Louis, Good Intent, all in Atchison County, and in Nemaha County 1990-1995.
Father Henry was deeply respected by his confreres and his very dry, almost innocent humor, was highly prized. When asked to serve in Nemaha County he was concerned since he felt that he was related to half of the people in St. Benedict. Deters is a very common name in the county particularly around Baileyville.
Fr. Deters died on January 3, 1996.