1901 – 1976 (January 3)
Ernest Joseph Autch, son of John A. Autch and Mary Quinlisk, was born in Pocantico Hills, New York, on August 23, 1901. In addition to two brothers, he had one sister, who became a Dominican nun, Sister Mary Vincentia. Ernie was educated in public schools of the Bronx, and attended Morris High School and Woods Business School. He entered Augustinian Academy, Staten Island, New York in 1932, and was received as a novice on September 8, 1934. He pronounced simple vows on September 10, 1935 and solemn vows on September 10, 1938. Following reception of a Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova College in 1939, he pursued theological studies at Augustinian College, Washington, DC, and was ordained to the priesthood at Trinity College Chapel by Bishop John McNamara on May 28, 1942.
A man of simple and deep faith, Father Autch always had a great concern for youth. As a young man, employed in business, he worked with Father Blase Zeiser, O.S.A. in coaching sports teams at Saint Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in the Bronx. He also owned and operated Camp Ramapo for boys. A number of his counselors accepted the call to the priesthood in New York.
His talents were clearly in the pastoral field and his entire apostolate was devoted therein. Father Autch's first appointment after ordination was to Saint Rita Parish, Philadelphia, in 1943. This was followed in 1946 with an assignment to Saint Paul the Apostle, Mechanicville, New York, and in 1957 to Saint Mary's, Lawrence, Massachusetts. In 1959 Father Autch was transferred to Immaculate Conception, Hoosick Falls, NY, and the following year to Saint Augustine's, Troy, NY. Hardly had he arrived in Troy when he was assigned as assistant pastor of Assumption parish, Lawrence, Ma, and three years later, in 1963 he was appointed prior and pastor there. From 1965 until his retirement in 1975 he served as prior and pastor of Saint Paul Parish, Mechanicville.
An organizer par excellence, Father Autch involved youth of all backgrounds in sports programs to teach them and gain a rapport with them. Twenty-two years of his priesthood were spent at Saint Paul Parish, Mechanicville, where, upon his retirement, the city declared a "Father Autch Day" in recognition of his efforts in developing and helping the youth of the community physically, mentally, and morally.
Father Autch died in Mechanicville on January 3, 1976. His Funeral Mass was celebrated at Saint Paul’s Church, Mechanicville on Wednesday, January 7, 1976, after which he was buried in the Augustinian plot at Saint Paul Cemetery.