Michel LeMier OFM died at the age of 89 on March 17, 2012 at Carlinville Rehab Center in Carlinville, Ill.
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Brother Michel, whose original name was William, was born to Henry Atwood LeMier and Mary E. (nee Bullock) LeMier on December 8, 1922 in Conway, Ark. He was in the service of his country during World War II aboard the Navy submarine USS Skate. After the war, he came in contact with the friars and received instructions in the Catholic Faith. Ten days after his 26th birthday he was received into the Catholic Church in Natchitoches. In November of 1956 he became a tertiary brother and was given the name of "Michel." Then he entered the First Order novitiate on June 20, 1962, and professed his simple vows a year and a day later in the hands of Provincial Minister Pius Barth OFM. On June 21, 1963, at Our Lady of Angels Friary in Cleveland, Ohio, Michel made his solemn profession in the hands of Dominic Limacher OFM, provincial minister.
Brother Michel served the Franciscan Fraternity and the Church well during his 45 years of active apostolic work. During his three years of simple vows he offered his fraternal service at Our Lady of Angels Seminary in Cleveland. After solemn vows he went to Brazil as a missionary and served there for ten years along the Amazon while being headquartered in Santarem, Para. When Michel first returned from Brazil he worked as a teacher at St. Joseph Parish in Bastrop for 13 years. Then he was asked to do maintenance work at the Academy of American Franciscan History in Washington, D.C. from 1986-1989. After this he returned to Brazil for two more years of missionary work.
In 1991, when he came back from Brazil the second time, he went back to his home state of Arkansas and was involved in a new ministerial venture in McGehee where he served as a pastoral minister; during his ten years in Arkansas he also held positions of leadership within the local Franciscan community. Brother Michel moved to Crowley, Texas in 2001. For four years at Crowley, while a member of St. Maximilian Kolbe Friary, he worked in pastoral ministry in that retirement community.
In 2005 Michel retired to Our Lady of Angels Friary at Villa West (known since 2011 as Blessed Giles Friary) in Sherman, Illinois. He spent the year 2007-2008 at Mill Creek Alzheimer Care Facility and then returned to Villa West. Early in 2012 he was moved to Carlinville Rehab Center in Carlinville, Illinois, where he died.
Published in Bastrop Daily Enterprise from Mar. 24 to Mar. 26, 2012