William Francis Krekelberg
was born the 4th of 5 boys to Edward Henry Krekelberg and Liberty Bell (Woodard) on July 30, 1944, at The City of Perham, Otter Tail County, Minnesota. The first three boys, a year apart, were Gerald, Ronald, and James. Boy #4 was born 2 years after James—then Billy remained the “baby” of the family for the next 3 years, until Dad returned from the Navy, and the 5th boy, Richard, was born in 1947. Billy did not approve of this and was ostensibly unhappy about it. We know this, because Fr. Bill declared this was so in a “talk” given at Fr. Richard’s 40th anniversary of ordination reception.
While the Krekelberg family began in Dent, Minnesota; the parish of first sacraments was Sacred Heart. Eventually, a small rented house no longer sufficed, so property was purchased in Winsted, Minnesota, where Ed and the oldest son, Gerry, assembled a WW2 surplus Quonset hut on a brick and concrete basement; their parish was now Holy Trinity, which offered the beginning of High School for the 3 older boys and grammar school for Billy and Dicky (who, early on, became referred to as “the two little ones,” unfortunately well into their adult years).
By summer of 1955, a decision had to be made whether to finally replace the Quonset hut with a real house, or move to California to escape the brutal winters, as many of Ed and Liberty’s family members had already done. The Quonset hut and most of its material contents (including Mom’s fur winter coat) went up for auction. They took the proceeds and bought a brand new ’88 Oldsmobile—Mom, Dad, and 4 boys headed for sunny California.
Finally settling in Buena Park, California, the home parish became St. Pius the V, where the 3 oldest boys were married, where Bill and Dick completed grammar school, and where ultimately “the two little ones” would celebrate their first Masses in 1970 and ’73. While attending the seminary, Bill was once asked by one of our uncles “So why did you and Dick both enter the seminary?” Bill responded, “Well, Gerry, Ron, and Jim all got married, so we just thought we should do something different.” Bill and Dick indeed chose to see if they had vocations to the priesthood; both entered the seminary at 14 and were ordained at 26, and now both have celebrated 50th anniversaries of ordination (no one more surprised than they!).
In ordination, Fr. Bill has served in St. Boniface in Anaheim (as deacon); St. Joseph, Hawthorne (Assoc. Pastor); Holy Family, Orange (Assoc. Pastor); appointed the first Archivist for the New Diocese of Orange and San Juan Capistrano; Our Lady of Fatima, San Clemente (Administrator); Santiago de Compostela, Lake Forest/El Toro (Pastor); St. Catherine of Siena, Laguna Beach (Pastor); Full-time Archivist for Orange and the Mission; and St. Thomas More, Irvine (Parochial Vicar, later, regular Supply Priest). He retired in 1970, Archivist Emeritus. Whew!
Reverend William Francis Krekelberg entered eternal life
mid Sunday Morning, November 5th, 2023
Fr. Bill is survived by his older brother, James, of Eldorado Hills, California, and younger brother, Msgr. Richard, also retired. And together with the children of Gerry, Ron, and James, and their own children and grandchildren, we are most grateful for the love, kindness, and promise of prayers that have been poured out in abundance during this difficult, but very graced time. May Fr. Bill’s beautiful soul, and those of all of our loved ones who have entered eternal life, rejoice in Jesus’ promises made true—nothing less than the joys of heaven!
(humbly offered by the other “little one,” this Sunday, November 12th, 2023)