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Obituary: Father Frank Perkovich, 89


Father Frank Perkovich, 89, of Chisholm, died peacefully of natural causes on July 16, in his home. He was born on Dec. 24, 1928, in Chisholm, to John and Jennie Johanna (Lesar) Perkovich. He was a 1946 graduate of Chisholm High School and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on June 5, 1954, by Bishop Thomas Welch.

Father Frank Perkovich
Father Frank Perkovich

Father Perkovich served in several parishes, including St. Michael, Duluth; St. Elizabeth, Duluth; St. Louis, Floodwood; St. Paul, Warba; St. Mary, Marble; St. Joseph, Taconite; Good Shepherd, Duluth; Resurrection, Eveleth; St. Margaret Mary, Duluth; St. Joseph, Gilbert; and St. John, Biwabik. He also served as diocesan director of youth activities; chaplain for the Knights of Columbus, Duluth Council; and Diocesan Presbyteral Council. He retired on July 15, 2004.

Father Perkovich was a Polka Hall of Fame Inductee in 2012. He celebrated his first Polka Mass in 1973, recorded with Joe Cvek and The Polka Mass-ters, and even went on to present the Polka Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. His life and ministry is the subject of a book entitled “Dancing a Polka to Heaven,” edited by Betty Vos.

Survivors include his nephews Michael (Jane), Frank (Jill), Robert (Vicki), and his niece, Mary Elizabeth (Skip Butterfield). He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers John and Louis Perkovich; sister-in-law Dorothy Perkovich; nephew John; and cousins in Toronto, Ontario; Slovenia; and Croatia.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to either of the following that Father Perkovich supported: 1) St. Mary and Joseph’s Log Church Restoration, 509 Sunrise Drive, Carlton, MN 55718 (for more information visit or 2) the Chisholm Community Foundation, 4 S.W. Third Ave., Chisholm, MN 55719.

At Father Perkovich’s request, there will not be a funeral service. A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 24, at Rupp Funeral Home & Cremation Service Chapel, Chisholm.