NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. William Edward Wickham, Jr., C.S.C., 81, died Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind.
He was born on June 18, 1939, in Winthrop, Mass., to William and Stella (Honan) Wickham. Fr. Wickham’s dad was an officer in the Army Air Corps. Because of World War II, the family moved to Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, where they lived on base for five years. After WWII, the family moved to Cincinnati, where Fr. Wickham attended Holy Angel Grade School. In 1948, the family moved to Indianapolis, where Fr. Wickham attended St. Thomas Aquinas School, then Cathedral High School, run by the Holy Cross brothers.
Two weeks following graduation from high school, in June 1957, he entered the Brothers of Holy Cross Postulancy in Watertown, Wis. for the Midwest Province of Brothers. On August 15, 1957, he received the habit at St. Joseph’s Novitiate, Rolling Prairie, Ind. On August 16, 1958, he made his First Profession and was assigned to studies at St. Edward’s University, Austin, Texas. He made his Final Profession on August 16, 1962.
In 1959, as a Holy Cross Brother, he was assigned to St. Charles Boys Home in Milwaukee, teaching in the academic program and as a counselor in one of the group living units. He served in this capacity until the summer of 1970. He returned to studies at Cardinal Stritch College (now Cardinal Stritch University) for two years. In 1972, he earned a degree in Residential Treatment/Child Care and was then hired by the college to coordinate their degree program. At the same time, he worked for the Milwaukee Christian Center as assistant program director and then program director from 1972 to 1975. It was during these years that he felt a call to the priesthood, and so requested a change to what was then the Indiana Province. He returned to studies at St. Edward University in 1975 and received a degree in Psychology/Social Work in December of 1976. In January of 1977, he entered Moreau Seminary and began studies at the University of Notre Dame. In 1978, he was assigned to studies at the Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corners, Wis., where he received his Master of Divinity. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind., on April 25, 1981.
Having been assigned as deacon to St. Bernard’s Parish in Watertown, Wis., Fr. Wickham continued serving there until June 30, 1985, at which time he was assigned to St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Portland, Ore. While serving the parish, he also served as Parochial Vicar and chaplain at Oregon Health Sciences University Hospital. It was at this time that he also began his ministry as chaplain with the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Portland, where he received several letters of commendation, including the 1994 “Secretary’s Hands and Heart” award by the Secretary of Department of Veteran Affairs.
In 1988, while still residing at St. Elizabeth’s, Fr. Wickham ministered full time at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. In 2000, Fr. Bill moved to the community residence at the University of Portland, where he served as Assistant Superior from 2006 to 2015. Due to failing health, he moved to Holy Cross House in 2020.
Fr. Bill is preceded in death by his parents, William and Stella Wickham. He is survived by his brother, Paul Wickham as well as six nieces and nephews: Karen (Lee) Daniels, Kevin Wickham, Angela (Jack) Doolittle, Paul (Pam) Wickham, Mary (Bruce) Ledford, Gretchen (Troy) Hawkins.
The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind., with everyone wearing masks and safely distanced. You may also join us via livestream at https://campusministry.nd.edu/mass-worship/basilica-of-the-sacred-heart/funeral-live-stream/. Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.
Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at https://donate.holycrossusa.org
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Rev. William Edward Wickham, C.S.C., please visit our floral store.