Queer Places:
Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, 11000 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45249

The Rev. Robert H. Apking (July 18, 1939 – January 10, 1993) resigned in 1988 from the Dayton, Ohio, church he served because he had AIDS.

A Cincinnati native, he lived in Bond Hill and Silverton. After resigning as pastor of Corpus Christi Church in 1988, Father Apking lived at St. Christopher rectory in Vandalia, Ohio, where he assisted the Rev. Robert Monnin by celebrating daily and weekend Masses. Publicity about his illness and homosexuality upset the people at St. Christopher prompting the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to help Father Apking relocate to another residence in Dayton. "Parishioners and students, family and friends will remember Father Apking for his warmth, humor and directness," said the Rev. R. Daniel Conlon, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. "While AIDS was the cause of his death, it would be a disservice if the ministry of this well-loved priest were to be overshadowed by his illness." Upon learning of Father Apking's death, many Corpus Christi parishioners and former students sent cards. "The outpouring of love and affection for the man said something in itself," said his brother, Thomas W. Apking of Greater Cincinnati. "You should have seen the cards in his hospital room. He must have had 25 pounds of cards."

Father Apking was ordained in 1965 and began his first appointment as associate pastor at All Saints Parish in Cincinnati. He was appointed to the faculty of Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading and remained there until 1971. He also served on the faculty of Our Lady of the Angels High School in St. Bernard. He was appointed associate pastor at SS. Peter and Paul Parish in Reading in 1968 and Apking also served as associate pastor at St. Gabriel parish, Glendale, Our Lady of Rosary parish, Greenhills, St. Ann parish, Hamilton, and St. Henry parish, Dayton.

Father Apking graduated from St. Xavier High School in 1957. He graduated from St. Gregory and Mount St. Mary seminaries and earned degrees in philosophy and theology. Father Apking received a master's degree in theology at Mount St. Mary. He also received a master's degree in education from Xavier University.

Father Apking served at Corpus Christi Church since 1979. He was appointed chaplain at Dayton Veterans Hospital in September 1990. "He was a very faith-filled man, one who was very much in love with his priesthood," said the Rev. Jim Schutte, pastor of Corpus Christi Church. "He enjoyed being a priest, and he enjoyed doing the work that a priest does."

He died of complications from the virus on January 10, 1993, at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Dayton, and is buried at Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery, Montgomery, OH.

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  1. https://www.newspapers.com/clip/26953612/robert_apking_july_18_1939/