Monsignor John F. Ekeler


John Fredrick Ekeler, the oldest child of Anna Marie Barkmeier Ekeler and Frank Ekeler, Sr. was born on a farm near Exeter, Nebraska on
April 17, 1899. He attended St. Benedict's School in Atchison, Kansas, and St. Francis Seminary at Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral in Lincoln, Nebraska on March 3, 1928.

Father Ekeler served as assistant pastor at the Cathedral and in St. Mary's Catholic Church in David City, Nebraska, before becoming pastor at St. Joseph's Church in Colon, Nebraska on August 29, 1929. He also provided pastoral services to St. James Catholic Church in Mead, Nebraska from 1929 to 1933.

He was appointed pastor of Presentation Church in Bellwood, Nebraska on January 3, 1933 and remained there until his transfer to the Crete, Nebraska pastorate on December 7, 1941. He was appointed dean of the Crete deanery in 1945. He was made a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius XII in December 1949, being invested with the robes of that dignity on February 7, 1950.

Msgr. Ekeler celebrated his silver jubilee of his ordination at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Crete on Tuesday, March 3, 1953. Msgr. Ekeler offered a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving in the presence of the Most Reverend Bishop Louis B. Kucera of the Lincoln Diocese. Also present was the Rt. Rev. Abbot Cuthbert McDonald, O.S.B., of St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas; and a large number of clergy and laity. The Rev. Dr. Malachy Sullivan, O.S.B, of St. Benedict's College, Atchison, gave the jubilee sermon.

Msgr. Ekeler continued to serve at Sacred Heart Catholic Church until he died in a Crete hospital on September 27, 1963.


Family of Frank and Anna Marie (Barkmeier) Ekeler

Back Row - Left to Right:
Father John, Mrs. Frank Ekeker, Sr., Frank Jr., Frank Sr., Henry, Joseph, Louis and William (twins)

Front Row:
 Alfred, Leo and Fred

Father John Ekeler's first Mass as a priest was celebrated
in the Catholic Rectory in Exeter, Nebraska



Reverend John Ekeler Celebrates Mass
- Banquet in His Honor -

Father John Ekeler celebrated his first Solemn High Mass at St. Stephen's Catholic Church at Exeter, Thursday, March 8, 1928, at 9:30 a.m. He was assisted at the Mass by the Very Reverend E. Boll, dean and pastor of Exeter, as assistant priest, Rev. Wm. Murphy as deacon, Rev M. A. Boyle as sub deacon and the Very Reverend J. Gilroy as master of ceremonies. Reverend Malachy Sullivan, O.S.B., delivered a very eloquent and inspiring sermon during the Mass. Little Lillian Barkmeier, cousin of Father Ekeler, acted as bride. Another cousin, Regina Barkmeier, and Stella Ruhl were flower girls.

The ladies of St. Stephen's parish served a sumptuous banquet in honor of the newly ordained priest in the Fraternal Hall at noon of the same day. At the banquet, the Very Rev. E. Boll, V.F., acted as toastmaster. The speakers were the Very Rev. D. J. Cronin, V.F., Rev. Malachy Sullivan, O.S.B., Very Rev. J. Gilroy, Dr. A. B. Stratton and the Rev John Ekeler. At the close of the banquet, Father Boll presented, in the name of the congregation, a present to Rev. John Ekeler. Father Ekeler responded in a very feeling manner, thanking above all his parents and brothers for the opportunity of his becoming a priest. He also thanked the Very Rev. E. Boll and others.

John Ekeler, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Ekeler, was born at Exeter on April 17, 1899. He received his education in the following schools: St. Stephens parochial school at Exeter, Trinity College in Sioux City, St. Benedict's College in Atchison, Kansas, where he received his B.A. Degree. He took his theological course at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and was ordained a priest at St. Mary's Cathedral, Lincoln, Nebraska by Rt. Rev. Francis J. Reckman, D.D. on March 3, 1928. The whole congregation of St. Stephens Catholic Church of Exeter is proud of Father Ekeler and wishes him success in his future work.

The following priests were present at the banquet: Rev. John Ekeler, Very Rev. E. Boll, Exeter; Very Rev. A. Mosler, Crete; Very Rev. C. A. Becker, Lawrence; Very Rev. D. J. Cronin, Lincoln; Very Rev. P. J. Healy, Geneva; Very Rev. J. F. Gilroy, Friend; Rev. Wm. Murphy, Lincoln; Rev. F. W. Cadek, Deweese; Rev. Joseph Krany, Harvard; Rev. Malachy Sullivan, O.S.B., Atchison, Kansas; Rev. R. Verhekt, Milligan; Rev. M. A. O'Boyle, Davey; Rev. A. Hahn, St. Stephen's; Rev. R. Quinn, Lincoln; Rev. A. J. Lutz, Turkey Creek; Rev. E. Hogan, Grafton; and Rev. P. Harte, Alexandria.

Fillmore County News
Exeter, Nebraska
March 15,1928


Rt. Rev. Msgr. John. F. Ekeler

Funeral services were held for Rt. Rev. Msgr. John F. Ekeler, 64, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Crete, Nebraska, on September 30, 1963.

He had been a Monsignor at the Sacred Heart Church since December 7, 1941. Previously, he had a parish in Bellwood, Nebraska. He had served the parish in Crete for 22 years.

Msgr. Ekeler was born in Exeter, Nebraska on April 17, 1899. He attended St. Benedict's School in Atchison, Kansas, and St. Francis Seminary at Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He was ordained at St. Mary's Cathedral in Lincoln on March 3, 1928. He was made a Domestic Prelate by Pope XII in December 1949.

Survivors include his mother Mrs. Anna (Barkmeier) Ekeler, Exeter; brothers, Frank Ekeler, Henry Ekeler, Joseph Ekeler, William Ekeler, Leo Ekeler, Fred Ekeler and Alfred Ekeler, all of Exeter and Dr. Louis Ekeler, David City.

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Thomas Kealy officiated at the funeral services. Over 80 Monsignors and priests attended from throughout the area.

Pallbearers were Henry Bals, Sr., Joseph Cink, Ernest Sand, Leon Frost, Henry Siedhoff, Anton Horky and Donald Muff.