Monsignor Eugene Elmer “Father Gene” Egan, 87, Luverne, died Saturday, June 25, 2016, at the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.
A funeral was Wednesday, June 29, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Ellsworth. Burial with full military honors followed at St. Mary Cemetery in Ellsworth.
Eugene Elmer Egan was born Sept. 29, 1928, to Elmer (Casey) and Margaret Egan on the family farm located on the Iowa-Minnesota line in Lyon County, Iowa. The family attended Saint Mary’s Parish in Ellsworth. He graduated from Saint Mary’s High School in 1946 and began studying for the priesthood at the seminary in Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa. Following graduation in 1950, he completed his seminary training at Theological College (Catholic University) in Washington, D.C.
He was ordained a Catholic Priest on June 6, 1954, by Bishop Edward Fitzgerald in the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Winona. He said the First Mass shortly thereafter at Saint Mary’s in Ellsworth. For the next 11 years he served in three parishes: Sacred Heart, Waseca; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Currie; and Saint Felix, Wabasha.
In 1965 he became a Chaplain in the U.S. Army. During his 20 years of military service he was assigned duty in Korea; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; Vietnam; Germany (two tours); Fort Sill, Oklahoma; William Beaumont Medical Center, Texas; and Fitzsimmons Medical Center, Colorado. During his service he earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. He was awarded the three Meritorious Service medals and an Army Commendation medal for his outstanding performance and the Bronze Star for bravery in combat (Vietnam). While serving in Germany he was introduced to the “Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend” organization and thrived as a “Presenting Priest” for 31 years, an endeavor which he found most rewarding. He retired from the Army on Sept. 30, 1985.
He returned to the Winona Diocese and served as pastor of Saint Martin’s, Woodstock/Saint Mary’s, Lake Wilson, Saint Catherine’s, Luverne/ Saint Joseph’s, Jasper, and Saint Gabriel’s, Fulda/Saint Columbia, Iona. He was named Monsignor on Dec. 5, 1997. He retired in June 2000 and resided in the family home in Ellsworth. He continued to assist as a substitute priest throughout the southwest region of the Diocese. In 2013 he moved to the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne.
He is survived by his sister, Patricia Lopez, Camarillo, California; a brother, Gerry (Joan) Egan, Port Orchard, Washington; and many nephews/nieces, grandnephews/nieces and great grandnephews/nieces.
He was preceeded in death by his parents; his sisters, Mary Clare Fischenich and Ruth McCarville; and his brother, Ray.
Arrangements were by Dingmann Funeral Home of Luverne, www.dingmannandsons.com.