Bishop David Choby of Nashville died at age 70 Saturday night after complications arose from a recent fall; he was a man known for his dear friendship and his commitment to promoting priestly vocations.
After a fall in his home early in February damaged his spine, Bishop Choby developed a reoccurring blood infection, which ultimately led to his death June 3 at about 10 pm.
“His engaging style, his keen intellect, especially in matters related to canon law, and most of all his warm personality will be greatly missed. Bishop Choby was a thoroughly gracious gentleman and churchman,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville said June 4.
He added that Bishop Choby “leaves a legacy of true pastoral care for all.”
Bishop Choby was noted for his understanding of canon law and commitment to the formation of priests. Instead of flowers, his family has asked for donations to be made to a memorial fund for the Nashville diocese’s Seminarian Education Fund.
A native to Nashville, he was born to Raymond and Rita Choby in January 1947. He was baptized at the Cathedral of the Incarnation, where he was later ordained a bishop. Attending seminary at Saint Ambrose College in Iowa and the Catholic University of America, he was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Nashville in 1974 by Bishop Joseph Durick.
Before receiving his canon law degree from the University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, he was an associate pastor at St Joseph Parish and administrator for St Ann Parish. He also spent time working for the diocese’s tribunal while at Christ the King Parish – which he did for most of his priesthood until he was appointed bishop.
After receiving his degree in canon law, Bishop Choby joined the faculty of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio for five years. He was also the president for the seminary’s board of trustees.
Starting in 1989, and until he was appointment bishop in 2005, he worked as the pastor for St John Vianney Parish in Gallatin, Tennessee. He served two five-year terms with the diocese’s presbyteral council and college of consultors – a local ordinance governing the diocese’s pastoral welfare. He was then elected the diocesan administrator in 2004.
He was appointed Bishop of Nashville in 2005, and consecrated in February 2006. He continued to serve as Nashville’s bishop until his death.
Visitations of Bishop Choby’s body will be held at the Nashville Cathedral June 8, concluding with the Office of the Dead; and June 9 at St. John Vianney in Gallatin, followed by the rosary and a dinner.
The bishop’s funeral Mass will be said June 10 at the Diocese of Nashville’s chancery, and his body will be buried at Calvary Cemetery.
“Please pray for the repose of the soul of Bishop Choby, for his family and friends, and for the people of the Diocese of Nashville,” the diocese asked in a statement.