Obituary of Clarence Nickel
Clarence Nickel passed from this life to be with his Lord September 27, 2023 after several years of decline. He was born October 29, 1926 in Hepburn, Saskatchewan to Herman and Tina (Schmor) Nickel. He is survived by Joyce – his wife of 23 years, as well as daughters Marlene (Otto) Hiebert, Sandra (Darrell) Whelan, sons Robert (Rose), Philip (Charlotte) and James (Hildy). Also survived by eleven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He is predeceased by grandchildren Heather and Derrick and eight of his nine siblings, survived by the youngest – Carol Riddick.
In 1944, the Herman Nickel family made their way to the Niagara area, ultimately settling on a farm property on Progressive Avenue in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Attending the Virgil MB church and involved with youth singing, he met Helen Kliewer and the two fell in love, getting married July 17, 1948. The young couple soon moved to St Catharines and attended the Mennonite Brethren church there - later known as the Scott St MB church. It was not long before the family grew with Marlene first arriving on the scene with Robert following three years later, Philip three years after that and then Sandra six years after.
Clarence worked 16 years as shipper/receiver at Lord & Burnham, a greenhouse manufacturer in St Catharines before moving the family onto the farm in June of 1963 on Lakeshore Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The early years on the farm were difficult, but through diligent effort and working off the farm, Clarence and Helen not only survived financially but eventually prospered. Six years after Sandy, the Lord blessed them with another son, James and the family was complete. Part of the success in farming was due to five children providing labour for taking care of 34 acres of orchards and grapes as well as two barns of broiler chickens. Dad much enjoyed the solitude of pruning the trees in winter working from his self-designed mobile platform which also doubled as a picking platform at harvest.
After 27 years of marriage, sadly Helen developed cancer at 47 years of age and eventually succumbed on February 17, 1975. With young children still at home, coupled with the responsibilities of operating the farm, he sought to begin anew on life’s journey with Kae Durksen, being married with her October 30, 1976. After a few more years, Dad decided it was time to retire from farming and leased out the farm in 1985, and he and Kae moved up to West Guilford in the Haliburton area in 1987, building a home on Pine Lake. Living in the north was a very pleasant and rewarding time and while there they became actively involved with church, MDS work, the Gideons and Dad even spent a winter grooming snowmobile trails. Unfortunately, cancer would again rob Dad of his life’s partner as Kae passed away from the disease in 1998. It was a lonely time for Dad, and again God saw fit to bring a wonderful woman into his life to be at his side along life’s journey. He and Joyce Kroeker were married June 3, 2000, and carried on life on Jeannette Drive in St Catharines until eventually moving into Tabor Manor apartments in 2008. They enjoyed travelling together, were active in church life and enjoyed touring the Niagara area in day trips in later years, seeing the countryside and viewing farming scenes of Niagara. There were treasured times spent with grandchildren camping in a fifth-wheel RV, spending time at Wolf Lodge or going out for breakfast which are fondly remembered. During the past few years as Dad’s mental acuity worsened, Joyce needed to help Dad remember once-familiar things like past friends and the names of grandchildren, but never lost his kind and loving disposition. Whenever he would be greeted by someone asking how he was, his invariable response would be an enthusiastic “I’m fine!” followed by “to God be the glory!” His optimism of life never faded despite his circumstances! Our Dad will be remembered for being industrious, being a loving father and husband and above all loving his Lord. His steadfast faith to God was woven into the very fabric of his being. That example of serving God throughout life is continued in his family and our comfort is that he has received his reward in heaven!
Visitation hours will be Thursday October 5th, 4:00-7:00 pm at the Glenridge Bible Church, 310 Scott St, St Catharines. A celebration of life service will be held at that location Friday, October 6th at 11:00 am following a private interment at Lakeshore Cemetery, Niagara on the Lake. The service will be uploaded to the church’s YouTube channel for viewing after.
Please make any donations to the charity of your choice.