The Rev. Monsignor Gregory Keith Ketcham, 50, of Bloomington, passed to eternal life in the Resurrection of Jesus at 2:25 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 8, 2018) at his home, surrounded by family. Although he has lost his battle with brain cancer, he has won his joyous passage to heaven for which he so faithfully fought.

His funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington, officiated by the Most Rev. Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C. Open viewing will be from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Patrick Church of Merna. The family will be present from 4 to 7 p.m. At 7 p.m. a rosary will be led by Father James Seitz at the church. The body of Monsignor Ketcham will lie in state at St. Patrick Church of Merna throughout Sunday night with parishioners and members of the Knights of Columbus present. Those who wish to pray privately are welcome to visit the church during those hours as well. Visitation will also be from 9 to 10:45 a.m. Monday, prior to the Mass. A luncheon at Shamrock Hall will follow.

Additional visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nauvoo, with the funeral procession traveling from Nauvoo to Hamilton along the Great River Road, for the graveside service at Oakwood Cemetery, Hamilton. A memorial Mass in Father Greg’s honor will be at noon Tuesday at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Hamilton. A luncheon will follow at the parish hall.

Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home, Bloomington, is assisting the family with arrangements. 

Father Greg was born Feb. 14, 1967, in Keokuk, Iowa, the youngest child of Keith H. and Norma Jean Wilkens Ketcham. His survivors include three sisters, Kay (Steve) Luft, Olathe, Kan.; Clarisse (Dr. Jonathan) Slater, Bloomington; and Colleen Varner, Hamilton; one brother, Dr. Jeffrey (Annette) Ketcham, Peoria; nine nieces and nephews, Clayton and Brett Varner; Stephanie (Jon) Novacek; Sean (Amy) Luft; Wesley (Meridel) Ketcham; Amy (Greg) Sanderson; Jeffrey, Camille and Anna (fiancé, Aaron Kinskey) Slater; and 15 great-nieces and -nephews. They will cherish the memories of their brother, uncle, great-uncle, and family priest in their hearts forever. Father Greg leaves behind many beloved parishioners, fellow priests, religious sisters and friends who enriched his life in each of his communities. A lifelong St. Louis Cardinal fan, Father Greg was even known to ask parishioners to pray for his beloved Cardinals.

He was preceded in death by his parents and one niece in infancy, Collette Varner.

Father Greg was ordained as a Catholic priest of the Diocese of Peoria on May 28, 1994. His first assignment was as parochial vicar at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Monmouth, St. Patrick’s Church in Raritan, and St. Andrew’s in Oquawka. He became diocesan director of rural life in 1995. Father Greg was pastor of Saints Peter & Paul Church in Nauvoo and Sacred Heart Church in Dallas City (1997). He became pastor of St. Philomena Catholic Church, Peoria, in 2003. Father Greg was assigned as chaplain of St. John Chapel and director of the Newman Foundation in Champaign (2006). He was appointed chaplain to His Holiness by Pope Benedict XVI (2009). He also enjoyed his position as chaplain of the Illini football team during his service there. In 2014, Father Greg became pastor of St. Patrick Church of Merna in Bloomington and St. Mary’s Church in Downs. In April of 2017, Father Greg became pastor emeritus of these parishes.

His family wishes to thank those who have supported Father Greg and his family with loving care, prayers and friendship in the last several months and years especially.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Patrick Church of Merna, Bloomington, or the St. John's Catholic Newman Center in Champaign for a scholarship fund that will be established in Monsignor Gregory Ketcham's name.

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