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Obituary

William ” Willie” Nieckarz

March 29, 2019

William “Willie” Nieckarz 79, grew up in Chicopee, Massachusetts, earning his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1961, and his PhD in nuclear chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University in 1967.  His thesis topic was “Proton Reaction on the Isotopes of Cadmium”.  He was the first researcher to use separate isotopes of any element as targets in the cyclotron with proton energies up to 400 MeV. The army assigned him to serve his two year ROTC commitment at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute(AFFRRI) located at Bethesda Naval Hospital.  As a captain in the U.S. Army he was head of the chemistry division.  He worked closely with a medical doctor from Detroit, Michigan and they were some of the first researchers to use F-18 in patients with bone cancer studies.

After the army he accepted a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in Nuclear Chemistry.  He started a B.S. Program for Nuclear Medicine Technologist.  The
3 plus 1 degree with Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. along with other clinical sites enabled his students to have a full year of internship in a medical setting.   From 1969-1999 there were over 600 graduates from the Nuclear Med Tech program.  In 1999 he took an early retirement from the UW  system for various medical reasons.
His first wife, Aline Fournier Nieckarz had a PhD in organic chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University, and she taught organic chemistry labs at UW-LaCrosse until her death in 1990.

Willie enjoyed woodworking and took classes at WWTC.   He enjoyed golf, poker with his friends, attending Boston Red Sox games at Fenway Park, and Mud-Hen games in Toledo, Ohio. One of his favorite activities was game time i. e,, Rummikub, Skippo, Clue, Parcheesi, and Cribbage, board games with his numerous grandchildren.  He was an avid collector of vintage Lionel Trains, coins, U.S. and Polish stamps.  He spent his retirement years walking the beaches at his home in Pacific Beach, Washington with his dog, Neah Bay and his wife Marilyn.

“Willie” is survived by his two children.  Gregory (Heather) two grandsons, Henry and Charles; Janet Nieckarz Loeven (Frederic) and a grand daughter Bria, along with his brother Lawrence Nieckarz (Goldie Selfe).   His Wisconsin family includes his wife Marilyn of 24 years, Jamie Pinski (Jim McDonald), grandchildren Andrew Pinski, Troy Pinski (Jenn), and Jordan Pinski(Sarah).  His West Coast family includes Chris Huff (Amy Sothman) grandchildren, Jedadiah Huff (MacKenzie) and one great grandchild Odin Dixie Huff, Nora Huff, and Aldin Huff.

A Mass will be held at Roncalli Newman on Saturday, April 6th, at 11:00 AM.  Visitation with the family will be from 10:00 AM until the service. In lieu of flowers,  donations can be made to his  U.W. Lacrosse Foundation NMT Scholarship P.O. Box 1148,  or to Place of Grace,  918 Hood St.  Burial will take place later this summer at the St. Stanislaus Cemetery in Chicopee, MA. Coulee Region Cremation Group is assisting the family.

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