Mitch – whose original name was William – was born to Henry Atwood LeMier and
Mary E. (nee Bullock) LeMier on December 8, 1922, in Conway, Arkansas. Bill 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, Louisiana. 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.
Mitch 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 Santarém, Pará. When Michel first returned from Brazil he worked as a
teacher at St. Joseph Parish in Bastrop, Louisiana, for 13 years. Then he was asked to do maintenance work at
the Academy of American Franciscan History in Washington, D.C., from 1986 to 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. Mitch 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.
Mitch was a very willing worker and a great friar. He was a quiet fellow and a very easy-going person. He had
many interesting stories and sayings. He was a real joy to be around, always quick with some humorous
comment and always ready to talk about his experience in the Navy (while also being very self-conscious about
covering his tattoos from Navy days).
Once his dementia increased, he may not have remembered a name or a face or the place where he lived, but he
always remembered with great respect and love the Blessed Sacrament. He would be taken to chapel for Mass
every day, and being in the presence of the Lord was so familiar to him. The Lord was present maybe not in his
mind but definitely in his heart. He watched the Mass with great attentiveness and would clasp his hands
together in prayer.
A special note of gratitude is extended to Pat Goldsmith, a good friend of the friars in Sherman. She was
Mitch’s dear friend and would visit him daily. He always looked forward to seeing her not only for the
chocolates she would bring but for her gentle and caring concern for him. Mitch is survived by one brother
who resides in Shreveport, Louisiana.
May Michel rest in peace!
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