Fr. Edward Harkrader, 94, Purple Heart recipient, dies; funeral April 19

Father Edward Harkrader

Father Edward O. Harkrader, 94, died April 1, 2024, at Accolade Healthcare in Peoria.

Father Harkrader – Father Ed – was born in Peoria on Sept. 30, 1930, and attended Peoria public schools, graduating from Peoria High School in 1948. He then attended Bradley University, graduating with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science. As a member of the Illinois National Guard, he served in the infantry during the Korean War, and was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries received during combat.

Following his military service, he entered the seminary and was ordained a priest in the Diocese of Peoria on June 7, 1969, serving his first Mass in his home parish of Sacred Heart in Peoria.

Father Ed served in just four parishes over 50 years, but left an impression in each one. His first assignments were as parochial vicar to St. Paul in Macomb and Holy Family in Oglesby. Then, from 1979 to 1988, he served as pastor at St. Anthony in Matherville.

Coming to St. Louis Parish in Princeton in 1979, he oversaw construction of a new church – and burned the mortgage before he left.

Coming to St. Louis Parish in Princeton in 1979, he oversaw construction of a new church – and burned the mortgage before he left.

Princeton parishioners showed their appreciation for his years of service by naming their parish center after him. Following his retirement in 2001, Father Ed remained in Princeton where he celebrated his 50th Golden Jubilee anniversary in the priesthood on June 8, 2019.

Survivors include his brother Alan Harkrader Jr. of Peoria; and two nephews: Alan (Kate Marsland) Harkrader III of Mendota Height, MN; and Mark (Jodi Murphy) Harkrader of Urbana, IL. Father Ed was preceded in death by his parents, Alan, Sr. and Barbara Harkrader.

Visitation will be held at St. Louis Church in Princeton on Friday, April 19 from 9 a.m. until time of Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. Most Reverend Bishop Louis Tylka and Msgr. James Kruse will officiate. A noon luncheon will be served in Harkrader Hall following the Mass. Graveside services with military honors will be held in Parkview Cemetery in Peoria at 3 p.m.

Memorials in Father Ed’s memory may be made to St. Louis Church in Princeton.

Friends and family are encouraged to log onto to sign the online guestbook, submit photos and share Father Ed’s memorial page via social media.



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