• "He lived his life as a priest for 68 yrs. HE LOVED THE..."
    - Ann Buczek
  • "I know you're already helping people out. That's who you..."
    - Michael & Mary Ziemkowski
  • "Eternal rest grant unto +Father Kelchak Oh Lord and let..."
    - Mary Jane
  • "Thank you Fr. Joe. You gave me a health tip many years ago..."
    - Ann Sabocik
  • "Pleasant memories of Father Kelchak. May he rest in peace."
    - Jack and Jo Powell

Reverend Joseph M. Kelchak Reverend Joseph M. Kelchak, age 92. Born March 1, 1926, At Rest November 9, 2018. Fr. Kelchak was born in Gary, IN, attended Holy Trinity Grammar School, St. Procopius College Prep and Seminary and St Francis Seminary in Wisconsin for Philosophy. He was ordained on May 27, 1950 receiving valedictorian honors at every level of education. 1990 brought Fr. Joe to Notre Dame for sabbatical studies after his retirement. Fr. Kelchak served in over 53 parishes, St Mary's Hospital as a chaplain, and multiple nursing care facilities during his 68 years as a catholic priest. Fr. Joe built multiple design award recognized churches during his life. His duties as senior priest at St. John the Evangelist Church were a special highlight during his retirement years. The family would like to give a special thank you to Fr. Sammie Maletta and all the parishioners at St. John for taking him in. Fr. Joe adored all his parish families and spoke of them often. A very special thank you to the Sisters of the Albertine Home and Hospice of the Calumet Area for their great care of Fr. Joe. His pastoral duties included St. John The Baptist and St. Joseph's both in Rhinelander Wisconsin, St Patrick's in Centuria, Wisconsin and St. Joseph's in Barron Wisconsin. Fr. Kelchak was instrumental to the Chippewa Indians, bringing running water, the wild rice co-op and electricity to the reservations. Serving on numerous boards: including Chairman of the Liturgical Commission, Indian Commission, Presbyteral council, and Pastoral council. He served 9 years on the Permanent Diaconate Board and was a director for continuing education for priests and deacons for 14 years. He was a published author during the 1960's with over a dozen books on the liturgy, family, and marriage counseling. As a certified consultant he administered workshops in personal profiles, positive thinking and psychology. A sought-after speaker for retreats, days of recollection, Native American Spiritually, works of art and the Bible. Fr. Joe led tours in the 1960's and 1970's to the Holy land, Greece and Rome. His collaboration with international artist Bill Mack is well documented producing his vision of the " Madonna With Child " sculpture. Fr. Joe is preceded in death by his parents, Michael and Mary Kelchak, his sister Marge Simko, brother, Dr. Michael Kelchak, brother in law Ernest Buczek, sister in laws Sandra Kelchak and Betty Kelchak. He is survived by his brother George Kelchak and sister Anna Buczek, brother in law John Simko, and many nieces and nephews. His love of family brought him home. His famous phrase "GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I" will forever remain in our hearts. He will be truly missed. Funeral arrangements for Rev. Joseph Kelchak are as follows: Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at St. John the Evangelist Church 10701 Olcott Ave. St. John, Indiana 46373. Rite of Reception will take place at 2:00 pm. Viewing and visitation will follow Rite of Reception until time of Evening Prayer at 7:30 p.m. Visitation and Funeral Services on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 from 8:30 a.m. until time of Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church. Interment Calumet Park Cemetery. Funeral arrangements entrusted to Elmwood Funeral Chapel, St. John, Indiana. In lieu of flowers masses for Fr. Joe or memorial contributions to the Albertine Home preferred. For more information 219-365-3474 or


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Elmwood Chapel
11300 W 97Th Ln
Saint John, IN 46373
(219) 365-3474
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Published in The Times on Nov. 12, 2018