Fr. John H. “Fr. Jack” Brunner, 81

Fr. John H. “Fr. Jack” Brunner

Cold Spring
January 28, 1937 - October 23, 2018

Fr. John H. “Fr. Jack” Brunner, 81 of Cold Spring, passed away on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at the St. Cloud Hospital.  A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 am on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Fairfax with visitation one hour prior to services.  Bishop John LeVoir will officiate.  Interment will be in St. Andrew Catholic Cemetery in Fairfax.

A visitation will be held from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on Monday, October 29, 2018 at the St. Anthony Catholic Church Parish Center in Watkins.  There will be a prayer service at 7:00 pm followed by the Knights of Columbus rosary.

Arrangements are with the Ertl Funeral Home, Watkins.

Fr. Jack was born on January 28, 1937 in New Ulm, MN to Henry and Honora (Young) Brunner.  He grew up in Fairfax and attended St. Andrew Grade School, graduating in 1950.  In 1954, he graduated from Crosier Seminary in Onamia and in 1958 he graduated from Benedictine University of Lisle, IL.  Fr. Jack continued his education at St. Procopius Major Seminary in Lisle, IL, graduating in 1962.  He earned a Master’s degree of Education in 1970 and a Specialist degree in Educational Administration in 1971, both from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

On February 18, 1962, Fr. Jack was ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm; he was assigned as Associate Pastor at St. Anthony Church in Watkins.  From 1967 to 1972, he served as Principal at St. Mary’s High School in Bird Island.  He then served as Pastor and Superintendent of Holy Trinity Parish and School in Winsted. In 1983, Fr. Jack became Pastor at St. John’s of Searles and served as Superintendent of New Ulm Area Catholic Schools.  He then served at Holy Trinity of New Ulm from 1988 to 1991 when he became Pastor at St. Andrew’s in Fairfax, Sacred Heart in Franklin, and in 2000 he became Pastor at Gibbon as well.  In 2002, Fr. Jack returned to St. Anthony’s in Watkins where he served as Pastor until his retirement on January 12, 2014.

Fr. Jack served on the Diocesan Education Committee for over 20 years and on the Diocesan Priests Council for 16 years, including four years as chairperson.  He also served on the Diocesan Pension Committee and the Diocesan Land Committee. 

Fr. Jack was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters and was appointed State Chaplain to State Minn. Court and was elected to the State Court with Voting rights.  He was also 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus and served as State Assistant KC Chaplain and State KC Chaplain. 

In his earlier years, Fr. Jack hunted elk, deer and antelope in Wyoming and Canada for many years, hunting elk for the last time in 2001.  He hunted moose in Minnesota once but many times in Canada  with the group from Winsted.  He also pheasant hunted and he hunted geese a few times in Churchill, Canada.  Fr. Jack also enjoyed golfing and classic cars, owning several of them over the years.  The cabin on Big Fish Lake, which Fr. Jack purchased along with his brother, James in 1964, was his biggest joy and main place for relaxation and retreat. 

Fr. Jack is survived by his sisters, Darla Ann Linnenkamp of Minnetrista and Michele Breitenstein of Blaine; nieces and nephews, Deon Schnichels, Delene Brown, Dallen Schnichels, Darren Schnichels, Dean Schnichels, Andrea Williams, John Brunner, Stephanie Breedlove, Paul Brunner and Nora Dragich; great nieces and nephews and great great nieces and nephews.  He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, James Brunner, nephew, Mike Dragich; brothers-in-law, Don Schnichels, Dale Linnenkamp and Bill Breitenstein.