A funeral Mass was offered June 30 at St. Mary's Church, Ballston Spa, for Rev. John French, who died June 26. He was 88 and was a priest of the Albany Diocese for 63 years.

A native of Albany, he had been associate pastor at Blessed Sacrament parish and St. Teresa of Avila parishes in Albany, as well as vice principal of St. Teresa of Avila Junior High School; he was later assigned to St. Mary's parish in Glens Falls and was principal of St. Mary's Academy there. He was founding pastor of Annunciation parish in Queensbury, where he served for 24 years until his retirement in 1994.

Two years later, he came back from having retired to Williamsburg, Va., to serve as pastor of St. Mary's in Ballston Spa until his second retirement in 2003. In retirement, he assisted at St. Bede parish in Williamsburg and in campus ministry at The College of William and Mary there.

In the late 1990s, describing a massive renovation project at St. Mary's in Ballston Spa, Father French emphasized that "the work we're doing now is an investment in the next 100 years. We are taking the long view and building for the future."

That is certainly something he did as both an educator and a priest. "I thank God for the gift of my vocation to the priesthood and would be happy to do it all over again," he told The Evangelist in 2004, when he was marking 50 years of priesthood.

His ministry of building toward the future must be carried on by others, as Father French rests in the arms of God. Survivors include his sister, Joan French Foster. Interment was at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, East Greenbush.