Rev. John J. Purtell

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Rev. John J. Purtell


Father John Purtell, 80, of Dubuque and formerly of Sumner, died Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at Stonehill Care Center in Dubuque.

Mass of Christian Burial was held Friday, November 22, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Sumner. 

Interment followed at Calvary Cemetery in New Hampton.

Becker-Milnes Funeral Home in Sumner is assisting Father Purtell’s family.

Online condolences may be left at

John Joseph Purtell, son of John J. Sr. and Lena Salz Purtell, was born Jan. 24, 1933, at Oelwein. He graduated from Visitation High School at Stacyville and Loras College in Dubuque.

Following military service, he taught school at Turkey Valley. He later graduated from Mount Saint Bernard Seminary in Dubuque and was ordained June 1, 1968, at St. Raphael Cathedral in Dubuque by the Most Rev. J.J. Byrne.

Father Purtell served many parishes in northeast Iowa: Sacred Heart in Oelwein, St. Paul’s in Worthington, St. Patrick’s in Waukon, St. John the Baptist in Westridge, St. Joseph’s and Marquette High School in Bellevue, St. Anthony in Dubuque, St. Patrick’s in Monti, All Saints in Rowley, Immaculate Conception in Sumner, St. Francis Xavier in Hawkeye, and St. Francis of Assisi in Fayette. He also served as part-time chaplain at the Mental Health Institute in Independence.

Father John is survived by one brother, James Purtell of Marion; and one sister, Patricia Schrage of Cresco.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two sisters, Mary and Sister Nora Purtell; and one brother, Rev. Thomas Purtell.


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