Father John P. Stack, a retired priest of the Archdiocese of Washington and founding pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Derwood, died March 21. A priest for more than 55 years, he was 83 years old, and had lived in Silver Spring.

Born in Bronx, N.Y., on Sept. 27, 1928, he studied at Fordham Preparatory School in Bronx and St. Andrew Seminary in Rochester, N.Y., before entering St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, Pa. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 4, 1955.

"He was a dedicated priest and a staunch supporter of the Church and the Holy Father," said Msgr. Richard Hughes, a retired priest of the archdiocese who offered the homily at Father Stack's funeral. "He always thought the Church was a divine institution and that we clergy and laity ought to always follow the leadership of the pope."

Father Stack's first assignment in the archdiocese was as parochial vicar at St. Peter Parish, Waldorf, for the summer. He was then assigned as parochial vicar at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Indian Head. In 1963, he was named parochial vicar at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish in Bethesda. In 1965, he was named parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish, Beltsville, a post he held until 1970, when he was named parochial vicar at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Bethesda.

In 1972, he was named founding pastor of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Derwood. He served there for 11 years until he was named pastor of St. Andrew the Apostle Parish in Silver Spring. The following year, he was named pastor of St. Hugh of Grenoble Parish in Greenbelt, and served there until 1990 when he was named pastor of Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Chaptico.

In 1999, he was named chaplain of the Knights of Columbus in Mechanicsville. He retired in 2006.

Cardinal Donald Wuerl celebrated a funeral Mass for Father Stack on March 24 at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish. A reception will immediately follow the Mass in the parish hall. Father Stack was interred at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, N.Y.

Father Stack is survived by one brother, Robert, of Astoria, N.Y., and one sister, Sister Thomas Edna, of Stella Maris Convent in Rockaway, N.Y.