Fr. Nowakowski, 93, dies; as youth served as Cubs bat boy

By Sam Lucero

ALLOUEZ — Fr. Edward Nowakowski, who served nearly 45 years as pastor at St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish in the northern Wisconsin rural community of Armstrong Creek, died Jan. 29 at age 93.

Fr. Edward Nowakowski

Fr. Nowakowski was born and raised in Chicago. He was the youngest of 12 children of Casimir and Antoinette (Ziemba) Nowakowski. Athletics and outdoor activities were among his pastimes during his youth. He enjoyed swimming and played both basketball and baseball. He served as a bat boy for the White Sox for two seasons and one season for the Cubs. He was a longtime fan of the Chicago Bears.

Fr. Nowakowski credited his family, parish priests, Felician Sisters and Notre Dame priests and brothers for helping him discern his call to the priesthood. He attended Holy Trinity High School in Chicago and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, Mich. He saw a posting from Bishop Stanislaus Bona of the Diocese of Green Bay seeking seminarians with interest in serving at a Polish parish. Fr. Nowakowski grew up in a Polish-speaking congregation, so he decided to apply. He was ordained a priest by Bishop Bona on May 22, 1948, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay.

Following ordination, Fr. Nowakowski served briefly as an assistant pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Marinette, and SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Green Bay. He served 12 years as an assistant at St. Mary Parish in Manitowoc. In 1960, he was appointed to Armstrong Creek. The parish was a good fit because of its Polish heritage. Fr. Nowakowski sang hymns and read the Gospel in Polish and English. He also heard confessions in Polish for those people with Polish roots who wanted to “keep the language going,” he said. “The people were from Poland and they retained their customs. Even with the youngsters, they were willing to learn a little Polish.”

Fr. Nowakowski also served as pastor at SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Eaton following the death of the previous pastor. In 1982, he was appointed pastor at St. Joan of Arc Parish, Goodman, while continuing to serve St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. Fr. Nowakowski retired to senior priest status in 2004. He resided at Grellinger Hall and the McCormick Memorial Home in Allouez. In retirement, Fr. Nowakowski found enjoyment in long walks. Last spring, he marked 68 years as a priest.

Fr. Nowakowski was preceded in death by his parents, brothers and sisters.

The funeral Mass was scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, in the McCormick Home Chapel with Bishop David Ricken as the celebrant and Fr. Joseph Dorner serving as the homilist. Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Calumet City, Ill.