Capt. Boleslaw Nickowal Was Steamship Captain

Capt. Boleslaw (William) Nickowal died peacefully at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center with his son, Peter, at his side on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the age of 88 years. He battled cancer with the help of family and friends.

He was born on Dec. 25, 1913 in New Bedford, one of eight children of Jan and Zofia (Olszowy) Nickowal, both of whom immigrated from Kamien, Poland.

He was the devoted husband of Celestina (Oliver) Nickowal for 60 years until her death in October of 1996.

The family is proud of his history and would like to recall that he was proud to be the captain on the steamers for a good 40 years. He captained many of the steamers, but his favorite was the Nobska. He was fond of telling his story of being the quarter master during the hurricane of 1938.

Captain Nickowal had many Island friends. He loved his land, which enabled him to garden and see the birds and animals of all varieties. He also enjoyed listening to his Polish music.

He was a parishioner of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in New Bedford and also of St. Elizabeth's Church in Edgartown.

Captain Nickowal is survived by his four sons, Jon Nickowal of Thailand, Peter Nickowal, Mark Nickowal and his wife, Betty, and Joseph Nickowal and his companion, Patti Sundelin, all of Tisbury; and his beautiful grandchildren, Jessica, Lisa, Danielle, Mark Jr. and Thomas Nickowal. Recently he was given his first great-grandson, Timothy Curran, son of Brian and Jessica Curran. A sister, Mary White of Reading, and many nieces and nephews also survive him.

He also had two brothers, Jon Nickowal of Acushnet and the late Stanley Nickowal, both of whom were captains of the steamers as well. All three are mentioned in the book written by Joe Moran, Island Steamers.

The family would especially like to thank and mention Martha's Vineyard Hospice, Cathy Brennan, Cynthia Barletta, Bill Hall, Marsha Weir, Jackie McGuilicuty, Pat Ciccora, Patty Carter, Debbie Smith, June Leon, Pat Pachico, the Visiting Nurse Association, Martha's Vineyard Community Services, Martha's Vineyard Hospital, Windemere Nursing Home and all their nurses.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Funeral Mass in St. Elizabeth's Church, Edgartown at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 26. Interment will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery, Vineyard Haven. A Celebration of Life will be held following the service at the VFW hall on Towanicut avenue, Oak Bluffs; please bring a dish to share. Donations may be made in Captain Nickowal's name to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are by the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.