February 22, 1966: First Priest of St. Columbkill’s Roman Catholic Church in Boyertown Dies


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

February 22, 1966: The Rev. Bernard Creamers, the beloved first priest of St. Columbkill’s Roman Catholic Church in Boyertown, has died. A native of Holland, he had met Thomas Leidy Rhoads and then Bishop Dennis Dougherty of the Philadelphia Archdiocese when they were all in the Philippines during the Spanish American War, and it was Dougherty who was influential in bringing Creamers of Boyertown.

Father Creamers became a well-known figure in town, beloved by everyone, but it took a lot of hard work for him to achieve that status. He got many “cold” receptions, but he believed if you continued to be nice to people, eventually they would accept you. “I will make them like us!”

He introduced himself to everyone he encountered. There was one man he met every morning at the Post Office; the Father always said “Hello” but the man never replied. One snowy day the man had a nasty fall on the sidewalk and Creamers helped him to his feet. The man said “Thank you,” and Creamers replied that it was too bad you had to take a hard fall to make you talk to me. After that they became good friends. The man was George Romig, the organist at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

It was said that Father Creamers always carried “a few extra dollars’ and he was well-known as being very generous, never saying “No” and helping out many times to provide food for the needy.

The first Ku Klux Klan cross burnings in Boyertown were held across the street from the church at 43 South Chestnut Street. After a few conflagrations, Father Creamers went out to talk to the pyromaniacs, saying that they could burn all the crosses they wanted, but they could not destroy the Church. They never came back to the location for their pyrotechnics.

In 1957 Father Creamers became only the third man to be honored as Boyertown’s Man of the Year, a greatly deserved tribute to a “good and kind” person who had devoted half his life to serving the community. He was pastor at St. Columbkill’s until his death at the age of 84. It was said that Father Creamers, more than any other person, had been responsible for breaking down the barriers of misunderstanding between Protestants and Roman Catholics in Boyertown.

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