THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Fr. Leander Nickel
Issue Date: May 20, 2020
Rev. Leander F. Nickel, 99, the oldest priest in the Diocese of Green Bay passed away Monday, May 11, 2020 at Crossroads in Green Bay.
Born in Jericho, the third of six children, to August and Frances (Olbrich) Nickel. A childhood accident nearly prevented him from becoming a priest. While in eighth grade, he was struck by a tree branch, which caused temporary paralysis to the left side of his body. He was under doctor's care, so after eighth grade he couldn't go to seminary.
He attended Chilton High School and Junior College at St. Lawrence Seminary, Mount Calvary. He was educated by the Capuchins and also thought about joining the Benedictines at one time, but the work of a Parish Priest is what he preferred, so he became a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay.
He then attended St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota, where he earned a degree in philosophy and then studied theology at St. Francis Seminary in St Francis. Most Rev. Stanislaus V. Bona ordained him to the priesthood on May 31, 1947 at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, Green Bay.
Fr. Leander's first appointment was as Assistant Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Oshkosh. This was followed by an appointment as Assistant Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Algoma and then Sacred Heart Parish, Appleton. In 1959, he was appointed Pastor of St. Michael Parish in Suring, where he served for eight years. During this time, he helped organize the Diocesan Clergy Credit Union for the Green Bay diocesan priests and served as treasurer and manager until 1986.
He was appointed Pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Clarks Mills in 1967, serving until 1979 and while there, he used his handyman skills on the Church properties and made a new entrance. He then served as Pastor of St. Nicholas Parish, Freedom until 1990. His last appointment was Pastor of St. Mary Parish, Stockbridge where he retired from in 2002. Fr. Nickel also served as a regional vicar and a diocesan consultor.
Reception of the body took place at at St. Mary Church, Stockbridge on Friday, May 15 from 4 p.m. until time of visitation at 6 p.m. With concerns of the Coronavirus, visitations were limited to 10 people at a time in the Church with others waiting outside while all observed social distancing and proper sanitization. A Prayer Service followed with a limit of 10 people. Visitation continued at the Church on Saturday, May 16, from 10 a.m. until time of the funeral Liturgy at 11 a.m., with Most Rev. David L. Ricken as Celebrant. Attendance at the Funeral Mass was limited to 10 persons but burial outside at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Jericho was open to all with observing social distancing.