FRANKLIN, Wis. (CBS 58) — The search for a priest missing from his apartment in Franklin is intensifying, six days after he first went missing.
Father Anthony Kluckman, or John Frederick Luckman, has Alzheimer’s Disease. The 75-year-old walked out of his apartment building Thursday, July 21, at 1:35 in the morning.
The Priests of the Sacred Heart monastery was the last place Father Anthony was seen.
This week his family offered a $10,000 reward for information that helps bring him home, but it’s been a frustrating search so far with few clues.
Mary Gorski is the communications director of the US province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. She knows Father Anthony well, and said, “We feel like every avenue of search has been utilized.”
Search dogs, sonar, and professional search teams have combed the ponds, reservoirs, golf courses, parks, and woods surrounding the Priests of the Sacred Heart monastery.
There is still no sign of Father Anthony.
Gorski said, “The only clue we have right now is the last image of Father Anthony caught on a security camera at about 1:35 in the morning.”
That’s the last time he was seen.
Despite an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Father Anthony had never walked away before. Others had watched out for him ever since he moved in a little more than a year ago.
Gorski said, “His fellow priests and brothers and community have really kept a close eye on him.”
Father Anthony grew up a military brat, living in at least 10 states as a child. Gorski says that prepared him to answer God’s calling and serve wherever he was needed.
For more than 20 years that was in Chamberlain, South Dakota, as chaplain at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
That’s where Clare Willrodt worked with him. She said, “The kids loved him. I mean, part of the reason why they participated in so many things.”
At St. Joseph’s, Father Anthony took on a lot of roles. He loved the rec center, bowled and refereed basketball games, made popcorn for the children, and kept up on the lives of graduates.
Willrodt says he had a special gift for connecting, especially during his homilies. “He kind of roamed around the church during his homely and if they answered the question, he’d flip them a Sacajawea coin, sometimes landing in the wrong spot, but it was all part of the fun.”
But in recent years he noticed a decline in his mental health. He celebrated his last Mass a little more than a year ago.
Willrodt said, “He did a beautiful job during his closing liturgy explaining the difficulty that he was having. And it was beautiful, seeing how honestly he could share that. I do remember how poignantly he expressed the difficulties that he was facing. He spoke of it with wisdom and tenderness and it was really touching.”
In the spring of 2021 he retired to the Priests of the Sacred Heart. Gorski described the move as coming home to family.
It’s a family now hoping and praying for a safe return.
Gorski said, “It is very difficult. Certainly, it’s like losing a member of your family. Everybody second guesses what happened. What they should have done. I liked Father Anthony, or I shouldn’t say it in the past tense. I like Father Anthony a lot.”
As the search continues, authorities are contacting other areas where Father Anthony has lived or ministered in case he’s had any contact there.
From South Dakota, Clare Willrodt said there are a lot of candles burning on campus and in homes as people there pray for Father Anthony’s safe return. She said, “Because that’s our way of praying when we can’t constantly be praying, and just have faith.”