'Gentleman' priest dies Sept. 28
Fr. Barcome served 20 years as Air Force chaplain
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
ALLOUEZ -- Father Earl Barcome, a native of Oconto Falls and a leader in the development of migrant ministry in the Diocese of Green Bay, died Sept. 28 at age 81.
In 1954, while serving as an assistant pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Oconto, Father Barcome developed a sacramental program for migrant workers. He also promoted construction of an A-frame chapel for Spanish-speaking migrant workers, known as the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which was blessed by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona in 1958.
Priesthood took Father Barcome to different regions of the world. He served for 20 years as an Air Force chaplain serving at bases in the Aleutian Islands, Turkey, Spain, Japan, Italy and the United States. In 1965, he won a Freedom's Foundation at Valley Forge Award. He was also awarded the Air Force commendation medal. In January of 1979, he retired as Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel.
Following his Air Force stint, he served as temporary administrator at Sacred Heart Parish, Spruce, and St. Wenceslaus Parish, Klondike before being appointed pastor of Corpus Christi Parish, Sturgeon Bay. He also served at St. Ambrose Parish, Wabeno. Father Barcome was pastor at St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood, with stations at Silver Cliff and Crooked Lake from December of 1989 until August of 1991, when he retired due to health problems.
Father Barcome reflected on his priesthood with gratitude at the time of his retirement.
"I was not born to this greatness, this gift of grace, love and mercy, and I certainly
did little to achieve it," he said. "I must admit, a saint I ain't. I hope at least I qualify as a gentleman. And I'd do it all over again."
Father Barcome had many interests. He was an avid fisherman, hunter, golfer and musician. While in high school, he was an undefeated boxer and played quarterback on the football team. He attended St. John University and Seminary in Collegeville, Minn. and was ordained a priest on April 25, 1952 by Bishop Bona at St. Joseph Orphanage Chapel in Green Bay.
Father Barcome is survived by five siblings, William (Shirley) Barcome, Green Bay; Dr. Donald Barcome, Grand Forks, N.D.; Dawn (Robert) Delacenserie, De Pere; Naomi Schaetz, Muskegon, Mich.; Monie (Robert) Jonet; and nieces and nephews.
Preceding him death were his parents, Earl and Eleanor Barcome; one brother-in-law, Kenneth Schaetz; and one sister-in-law, Shirley Barcome.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Oct. 4 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay. Bishop Robert Morneau was the presider and homilist. Burial was in Allouez Catholic Cemetery.