It is with great sadness to report the passing of Father John Vakulskas, Jr. Father John passed away Sunday evening at approximately 7pm central time. Born on February 28, 1944, John was known throughout the carnival industry as the "Carnival Priest", serving the outdoor amusement business and showmen since 1969.
For the past 10 months, John has been battling cancer and has been in and out of the hospital. Recently, he was re-admitted to the hospital for internal bleeding. During his recovery at the hospital, he shared a room with a patient who had COVID-19. Unfortunately, the virus spread to John and his health deteriorated rapidly.
John was a proud supporter of many industry organizations including The Outdoor Amusement Business Association, Midwest Showmen's Association, Miami Showmen's Association, Showmen's League of America (Chicago & St. Louis), Royal Hawaiian Showmen's Association, and was a Lifetime member of Hot Springs Showman's Association. In 2016, he was named to The Showmen's League of America Hall of Honor.
On June 16, 2016, Pope Francis honored Father John at the Vatican for his dedication to pastoral outreach since 1969. Pope Francis reminded Father John that kindness breeds kindness and to give his thanks to all carnival workers and their families for bringing family entertainment to all God's children.
RELATED STORY: Beloved Industry Figure, Father John - The Carnival Priest - Passes Away at 76
Visitation arrangements are as follows:
Saturday, October 10, 2020
9:30AM - 10:45AM
Church of The Nativity
4242 Natalia Way
Sioux City, Iowa 51106
Visitation will be at Nativity church from 9:30 a.m. until service time. Masks are required and social distancing restrictions will be followed in the church. The funeral can be watched live online at www.materdeisc.org.
Friends are encouraged to write a message on Father John's tribute wall.
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Read Father John's Tribute Story