The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2019

Bernard J. Nieman

Bernard J. Nieman, 79, of Van Wert, died Friday morning, January 18, 2019, at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Bernie was born June 26, 1939, in Effingham, Illinois, to Celia (Hoene) and Allie F. Nieman, who are both deceased. He is survived by his wife, Judy (Stewart) Nieman, whom he married on July 9, 1960, in St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Sigel, Illinois.

Bernard J. Nieman

Bernie is also survived by his children, Julia (Mike Warden) Perkins of Van Wert, Barclay (Jennifer) Nieman of Louisville, Kentucky, Bradley J. (Amy) Nieman of Cascade, Colorado, and Jennifer Nieman Rhea of Columbia City, Indiana; his much loved grandchildren, Kelsey (Brad) Strock, Daniel Perkins, Noah Nieman, Marlee Nieman, Zachary Rhea, Mackenzie Rhea, and Marissa Rhea; a brother, Virgil of Desert Hot Springs, California; and three sisters, Marlene Nieman of Effingham, Lucille (Tom) Hewing of Effingham, and Joyce (Jim) Monk of Chicago, Illinois.

A son-in-law, Alan Perkins; and a brother, Harold Nieman, also preceded him in death.

Bernie attended Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1962, and then went on to work for the Shell Oil Company in Indianapolis.

In 1964, he joined Federal Mogul Corporation in Frankfort, Indiana, and held various accounting positions at Federal Mogul plants in Redwood City, California, Van Wert, and Southfield, Michigan.

In 1973, he was named plant manager of the Velumoid Gasket Plant in Worchester, Massachusetts, and then in 1976 he came to Van Wert as the plant manager of the Sealing Products Plant. He left Federal Mogul in 1991 and worked for Alexander and Bebout until he retired in 1995.

Bernie was an active member of St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Van Wert, where he served on the Finance Committee for many years, serving as chairman numerous times. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus.

He was also a member, and past president, of Van Wert Rotary Club. [During his term as president, he helped initiate the annual Rotary Benefit Auction and was instrumental in using the auction proceeds and Rotary labor to construct the Nature Center at Camp Clay in Van Wert.

He a member, and past president, of the Business Development Corporation (formerly the Industrial Development Corporation), through which Vision Park was purchased and developed during his term as president.

Bernie also served on the YMCA Board of Directors during the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was very active at Camp Clay, as he and Judy were very close friends of the Clays during their lifetime.

Bernie was a member of Elks Lodge 1197 and co-chaired the Building Committee in 2004, when the current lodge was constructed.

He also spent time in the late 1990s and early 2000s with his buddies, Wayne Compton and Dick Allen, working on Habitat for Humanity houses.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, January 22, at St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Van Wert, with Father Stanley Szybka officiating. Burial will take place at a later date.

Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m. Monday, January 21, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert.

Preferred memorials: St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School.

Condolences may be expressed at

POSTED: 01/18/19 at 5:32 pm. FILED UNDER: Obituaries