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Priest was one of the oldest archdiocesan priests, ordained for 69 years

Chicago, IL (November 1, 2005) -- Rev. Edward J. Norkett, a former chaplain for military personnel in the U.S. Army and at a local Veterans’ Hospital, died Sunday, October 30, of a heart attack at Highland Park Hospital. He was 95 years old and had been a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago for 69 years.

A native of Chicago’s north side, Fr. Norkett attended Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic School. After attending the archdiocesan seminaries of Quigley Seminary in Chicago and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, he was ordained a priest in 1936.

Fr. Norkett served first as an assistant pastor for four years (1936-40) at the former St. Mary’s Training School (known now as Maryville Academy) in Des Plaines, before serving as an assistant pastor to (the now closed) St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Catholic Parish (1940-43). His first ministry to military personnel came during the Second World War when he served as a chaplain to the U.S. Army (1943-46). Serving first as a First Lieutenant to the U.S. Army Air Corps (1943), Fr. Norkett later served in England as a chaplain to the 8 th Air Force (1944-45), and then in France as a chaplain to the 19 th Tactical Air Command (1945-46).

After the war, Fr. Norkett ministered again as an assistant pastor at St. Mary’s Training School (1946-54), before taking up full-time chaplaincy ministry to the patients of Chicago’s West Side Veterans’ Hospital. He continued his full-time ministry as a chaplain to veterans for nearly 20 years (1954-73), residing at the Veterans Hospital for much of that period. From 1973 to 1982, he served as an associate pastor at (the now closed) Holy Family Catholic Parish in North Chicago.

Upon his retirement in 1982, Fr. Norkett lived for a number of years in suburban Highwood, and ministered in his retirement to parishioners at St. James Catholic Parish in Highwood and to military personnel at Fort Sheridan. In 1999, he moved to the rectory at Immaculate Conception Parish in Highland Park, and lived and ministered to parishioners there until a short time before his death.

Visitation for Fr. Norkett will take place from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1590 Green Bay Road, in Highland Park. Immediately following the period of visitation, a funeral Mass will be celebrated at 7 p.m. by his nephew, Rev. Michael Norkett, a priest of the Diocese of Oakland, California. Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Timothy J. Lyne will deliver the final commendation. Fr. Norkett’s body will be interred at 11 a.m., Friday, November 4, at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside.

Fr. Norkett is survived by his nephew, Fr. Michael Norkett.

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