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The Rev. Ralph Lammers, 85, worked at a garage and served in Korean War before finding his calling

February 1, 2018 GMT

The Rev. Ralph Lammers was assigned to a number of parishes in the Archdiocese of Omaha during a 35-year career.

He served the longest at two churches with the same name: St. Mary’s in Bellevue and Schuyler. And he was happiest at those places because he could really get to know parishioners, said his sister, Dorothy Lammers of Omaha.

Lammers, 85, had been living at St. John Vianney in Omaha with other retired priests when he died of a heart attack on Jan. 22. A funeral Mass is Wednesday at St. Cecilia Cathedral.

He grew up as one of eight siblings in Fordyce, Nebraska, and graduated from Holy Trinity High School in Hartington, Nebraska. He didn’t discern his vocation right away, but worked as a parts man at a Pontiac garage for a couple of years, his sister said.

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By the time he’d decided on the priesthood, the Korean War intervened. He was drafted and spent about 18 months in the service. He enrolled at Conception (Missouri) Seminary when he got home, and was ordained in Omaha in 1963.

Other parishes he served included St. Thomas More and Saints Peter and Paul, both in Omaha; St. Boniface in Elgin, Nebraska; and St. John the Baptist in Petersburg, Nebraska.

Lammers was a quiet, gentle person who loved to fish and hunt near his childhood home and take ski trips to Colorado. His sister said he also loved birds and nature.

“He had the farming bug,” she said. “He worked in the garden and loved to plant flowers.”

He even tried to raise tomatoes in a pot at St. John Vianney, she said.

Other survivors include sisters Alice Lammers of Omaha and Helen Soukup of Wyoming.