Justin A. Eeles, OFM
1914 – 2000
Fr. Justin Eeles, OFM, was born in Arlington, Mass., on Sept. 24, 1914. He studied a year at Boston College and a year at St. Joseph’s Seraphic Seminary in Callicoon, N.Y., before being received into the novitiate at St. Bonaventure Friary in Paterson, N.J., Aug. 25, 1932.
He professed temporary vows Aug. 26, 1933. Fr. Justin studied in Washington, D.C., where he was solemnly professed Sept. 17, 1936. He was ordained to the priesthood May 30, 1939.
During his early ministry, Fr. Justin served three stints at St. Francis of Assisi Church, New York City, for a total of eight years; three years at St. Elizabeth Friary, Denver, as a member of the mission band; and two years at Our Lady’s Chapel, New Bedford, Mass. In between, he served three years as an army chaplain and eight as an Air Force chaplain.
Retiring from active military service in 1956, Fr. Justin continued in the air force reserve until retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1974. His ministry took a new direction in 1961, when he became pastor and guardian of St. Anne Parish in Fair Lawn, N.J., where he also built a friary.
He then became pastor at St. Bonaventure in Paterson, assistant at St. Joseph in Echo Lake, N.J., pastor and regional guardian of St. Francis Xavier in Narrowsburg, N.Y., pastor of St. Anthony in Butler, N.J., and pastor of St. Anthony in Yulan, N.Y.
In 1985, he retired to Butler, though continuing to assist at local parishes. In November 1995, he transferred to Holy Name Friary in Ringwood, N.J.
Fr. Justin died there on July 29, 2000. He was 85 years old, a professed Franciscan for 66 years and a priest for 61 years.