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Death Summons Father Bernard: Pioneer
Priest of Fort Yates Died of Cancer Yesterday at Yankton
"Death Summons Father Bernard: Pioneer Priest of Fort Yates Died of Cancer Yesterday at Yankton." Emmons County Record, 17 October
People throughout the whole Missouri Slope area today mourn the death
of Father Bernard Strassmaier, beloved pioneer priest of the Standing
Rock reservation who passed away at 9:45 yesterday morning in a hospital
in Yankton, S. Dak. Death was caused from cancer of the stomach. In
poor health for several months, he was taken to the hospital for the
forepart of September. He was 78 years old.
Coming to the Standing Rock reservation 53 years ago, Fr. Bernard
dedicated his life to administering to the spiritual and physical
needs of the Sioux Indians. He was located at Fort Yates in the
early days when there were no priests in this territory and made
regular pilgrimages during winter and summer to the homes of Catholics
in the Emmons and nearby counties where neighborhood services were
held. He officiated at the Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage of
scores of Emmons people.
On the reservation he carried on his missionary work among the
Indians all thru the half century of his life there. Among the famous
chiefs he converted were John Grass, Mad Bear, Grey Eagle, Weasel
Bear, Bear Face and Fireheart. His parish today consists of nearly
A native of Aresing, Bavaria, Germany, Fr. Bernard came to the
United States in 1877 and was ordained as a Benedictine priest at
Conception, Mo., June 1886. Six months later he came to the Indian
territory. He celebrated his Golden Jubilee of Priesthood at Fort
Yates in 1936, and again was honored in April this year with a celebration
pageant which dramatized his life on his 53rd year of priesthood.
He would have celebrated his 79th birthday this coming Nov. 15th.
Funeral arrangements had not been made yesterday, but there will
be a Requiem Mass at Fort Yates, it is announced and burial will
be at Conception, Missouri.
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