Rev. John William Beckfelt, 87, died Sunday, May 17th at the Benedictine Health Center in Duluth, MN. Fr. John was born July 19, 1932 in Grand Rapids, MN to Raymond John and Eleanor Ann (Hoolihan) Beckfelt. Fr. John will be remembered for his dedication to the Parish communities in which he served, his faithfulness to God, his jovial personality, enjoyment of family to include many cousins, and a fondness of his Irish and German heritage.
Fr. John graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1951 and attended St John’s in Collegeville, MN. In 1953 he became a Brother of St. Pius X at St. Jerome’s Monastery while continuing his education. He received a BA in Elementary Education from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, IA, studied Theology at Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO, and received a Master of Divinity at St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, MN. On June 8, 1974, he was Ordained a Priest at Our Lady of Peace Church in Marshfield, WI by Bishop F.W. Freking, and held his first Mass on June 16, 1974 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Grand Rapids, MN.
Fr. John faithfully served Parish communities in the Dioceses of La Crosse, WI, and Duluth, MN. He served as Assistant Pastor at Blessed Sacrament in La Crosse, WI; and at St. Vincent de Paul in Wisconsin Rapids, WI; Pastor at St John’s Catholic Church in Whitehall, WI; and at Sacred Heart in Pine Creek, WI; Chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Arcadia, WI; dual Pastor for St. Boniface Catholic Church in Waumandee, WI and St. Lawrence Catholic Church in Alma, WI, and retired from St. Mary’s-Big River Catholic Church in River Falls, WI. After retirement, Fr. John moved to Duluth, MN where he continued to serve with his cousin, Fr. Bill Fider, as Pastor Emeritus for St. Joseph’s Church of Duluth Heights and St. Lawrence Church in Duluth, MN.
Fr. John is preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Eleanor (Hoolihan) Beckfelt; brother, Jerome Raymond (Nelmarie) Beckfelt; sisters, Mary Catherine (Beckfelt) Pommerville and Sr. Eleanor Ann Beckfelt, OSB; and niece, Christine D. Pommerville. Fr. John is survived by nieces, Jodi Lynn (Michael) Buice; AnnMarie (Richard) Goulet; Renee (Aaron) Lange; and brother-in-law, Jerry (Shirley) Pommerville. A Mass of Christian Burial was held privately and burial was at Itasca Calvary Cemetary in Grand Rapids, MN. A Celebration of Life Mass will be planned for a future date. Memorials in Fr. John’s honor may be directed to the Benedictine Health Center. Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd St. Duluth, MN, (218) 727-3555.
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