James L. Nicewander
James Lee Nicewander, 68, a longtime Plover resident and a former director of transportation for the Stevens Point Area Public School District, died Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016.
A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at Woodlands Church in Plover.
Visitation will be at Boston Funeral Home in Stevens Point from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, and at the church from 10 a.m. Wednesday until the service.
Condolences may be offered online at
Mr. Nicewander was born June 11, 1948, in the town of Lind
in Waupaca County, a son of the late Melvin and Lucia (Pope) Nicewander. He
attended elementary school at the neighborhood one-room Lynwood School until
the family moved closer to Waupaca where he attended the city schools. He graduated
from Waupaca High School in 1966.
He attended the University of Chicago on a four-year
academic scholarship, earning a degree in psychology in 1970.
After college, he was employed first as a vocational rehabilitation
counselor in Wausau, and then as production supervisor and subsequently plant manager
at a woodworking manufacturing factory in Stevens Point.
He began a 30-year career as an administrator with the
Stevens Point Area Public Schools in 1978. He worked as that district’s director
of transportation until his retirement in 2007. After retirement he served in
management consulting with other school districts regarding the policies,
programs and procedures he had developed over the years.
He was married to Sue Ann Steinmetz of Waupaca in 1973.
Together they traveled in conjunction with writing research
or to trade and memorabilia shows connected to their mail-order hobby card
From 1974 to 1986, Mr. Nicewander was a firefighter on the
Plover Fire Department, and he served as a trustee on the Village Board for six
years. He was a member of Berea Baptist Church in Stevens Point, where he
ministered by presenting special music and teaching Sunday School.
He served as a correspondent for the Waupaca County Post
during his junior and senior years at Waupaca High School. During the succeeding
years, he wrote more than 300 published articles and columns for magazines and
other periodicals. At the time of his death, he was again writing for the
County Post, penning a regular column called “Waupaca Nostalgia.”
He studied a family of Cooper’s hawks which nested in the
backyard of his home and co-authored with Robert Rosenfield, an authority on
Cooper’s hawks, a paper of his observations and documentation of the juvenile
In the 1990s, he and his wife formed the Bluegrass Gospel
Band, a family music group presenting gospel music at churches, camps, fairs
and senior gatherings.
Using the pen-name of “James L. Pope,” Mr. Nicewander
authored the historical non-fiction book “Everyday Adventures of a Farm Boy in
the ’50s,” a collection of tales of growing up on his family’s small dairy farm.
Upon his retirement, he established the Rural Heritage Reading Project, a
not-for-profit educational endeavor in which he would go into select central
Wisconsin elementary schools and speak to students about their rural heritage
and what things were like in their area half-a-century earlier.
He would read to students from the book and give each participating
pupil a free copy of the 269-page hardbound book. During the last several
years, he spoke and gave books to more than 3,500 students.
In late 2013, he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed
on his left side and confined to a wheelchair.
Survivors include his wife, Sue; two daughters, Jenni (Tom
Yang), Stevens Point, and Jodi (Matt Jewell), Eau Claire; one brother, Daniel
(Lynn) Nicewander, Shakopee, Minn.; and six grandchildren.
He was also preceded in death by one brothers, William and David