Rev. Kenneth E. Irrgang, 89, St. Cloud
December 24, 1928 - May 7, 2018
Mass of Christian Burial will be 11:00 am Saturday, May 12, 2018 at the Church of St. Paul in Nicollet for Fr. Ken Irrgang age 89 of St. Cloud who died Monday at his home. Bishop John M. LeVoir will officiate and burial will take place in the parish cemetery. Visitation from 4-8 pm Friday at the Williams Dingmann Family Funeral Home at 1900 Veterans Drive in St. Cloud, MN. A prayer service will be held at 7:30 pm on Friday at the funeral home in St. Cloud led by Rev. Robert Kieffer. Visitation will continue one hour prior to services Saturday at the church in Nicollet. A funeral lunch will follow the burial service at the Church of St. Paul in Nicollet.
The Rev. Kenneth E. (Father Ken”) Irrgang was born in the home of his parents, William Irrgang and Frances Sondag Irrgang, in Bernadotte Township in Nicollet County, Minnesota, on December 24, 1928. Because of a raging snowstorm, he was born at home since his parents were unable to make it to a hospital in New Ulm for his birth.
In June 1947, Irrgang graduated from Nicollet High School in Nicollet, Minnesota, and on November 12, 1948, he joined the U.S. Navy at San Diego, California, and after boot camp became a hospital Corpsman. He moved to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia in early 1949 and became a Neuropsychiatric Technician at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was then transferred to the U.S. Naval Hospital in Oakland, California, where he completed his four-year in the Navy and returned to civilian life on November 12, 1952.
Father Ken then attended the Mankato State College and received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1955 in English and Music. He then completed seven years of secondary teaching in Minnesota high schools: Trimont (one year), Mable (two years), Kimball (One year), and Gaylord (three years). In 1960, he received his Master’s Degree in English at Mankato State.
In the summer of 1962, Father Ken completed studies of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew at St. Benet’s Monastery in Benet Lake, Wisconsin. He then attended St. John’s University and Seminary in Collegeville, Minnesota, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (1967) and completed his studies for the priesthood in 1968.
Fr. Ken was ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of New Ulm, New Ulm, Minnesota, on June 1, 1968. He then obtained a Masters Degree in Educational Administration at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1969, he served as Principal of the Precious Blood Elementary School in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, and in the following year as Principal of Holy Trinity High School in Winsted, Minnesota.
In 1971-72, Father Ken served as Pastor of St. Dionysius Church in Tyler, Minnesota, and Pastor of the Church of St. Genevieve in Lake Benton, Minnesota. He then accepted a position as Campus Pastor at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, where he served until July 1977. At that time, he accepted a position with the National Farm Worker Ministry (NFWM) and under its auspices became a member of the United Farm Workers of America and worked with Cesar Chavez and the migrant farm workers in their struggle for the rights of migrant farm workers. He continued in that ministry until April 1989.
In April 1989, Father Ken returned to the New Ulm Diocese and became Pastoral Administrator of the Church of St. Mary in Cottonwood, Minnesota, and of the Church of St. Clothilde in Green Valley, Minnesota, from April 27 until June 13, 1989. He then became Associate Pastor of the Church of St. Mary in Willmar, Minnesota, from June 13, 1989, to July 2, 1990.
In 1990, Father Ken became Pastor of the Church of St. Joseph, Montevideo, Minnesota, and two years later became Pastor of the Church of St. Mary, Arlington, Minnesota.
On June 15, 1994, Father Ken officially retired from active ministry in the Diocese of New Ulm and moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota. There, in addition to the joy of retirement, Father Ken became engaged in two volunteer efforts: (1) reading for the blind and surrounding communities at the studio of radio station KVSC at St. Cloud State University, and (2) serving as a tutor for Adult Basic Education students in St. Cloud who are seeking to obtain their high school diplomas.
Father Irrgang is survived by his brothers and sisters, Robert Irrgang of Hopkins; Brother Conrad (Howard) Irrgang, OCSO of Spencer, MA; Carolyn A. Irrgang of St. Louis Park; Sister Marylyn Irrgang, SSND of Mankato; Harlan (Voula) Irrgang of Plano, TX; Sister Jovann Irrgang, SSND of Mankato; Marcia Holland of Elk River and by his many other relatives and loving friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, and brothers, Lyman C. Irrgang and George Irrgang and sister in law, RoseMarie Irrgang.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are invited to be made to the National Farm Worker Ministry, to the United Farm Workers of America, to the Catholic Worker in New York City, or Friends of Chimbote in Chimbote, Peru.
The family wishes to thank you for your kind expression of sympathy and for your presence at this service. No acknowledgments will be sent.