POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. — Robert Nee, OFM, died unexpectedly on Jan. 19 at Chilton Memorial Hospital, where he had been a patient undergoing medical tests. He was 76 years old, a professed friar for 54 years and a priest for 48.
Robert was born June 2, 1934, in Boston, the child of Coleman and Irene Nee. After discerning a vocation to the Franciscans, he enrolled at St. Joseph Seminary, Callicoon, N.Y., in 1952.
In 1955, he entered the Holy Name Province novitiate at St. Raphael Friary in Lafayette, N.J., receiving the name Eamon. Robert later reverted to his baptismal name. He professed his first vows there the following year and professed final vows in 1959 at Christ the King Seminary in Allegany, N.Y. Robert was ordained a priest in 1962 at the Franciscan Monastery in Washington, D.C.
Following ordination, Robert participated in the “fifth year” pastoral theology program at St. Anthony Shrine in Boston. In 1963, he began 14 years of servive in the Brazilian missions at Araguacema, Ceres, São Miguel, Pires do Rio, Santana and Porangatu.
In June 1977, he accepted a chaplaincy position at St. Francis Hospital in Olean, N.Y., and in 1980 at St. Raphael Hospital in New Haven, Conn. He returned to St. Anthony Shrine in 1984 to minister to Boston’s homeless population at St. Francis House.
He attended the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., for one year before being appointed pastor of St. Catherine’s Parish in Ringwood, N.J., in 1988. From 1990 to 1998, he served as parochial vicar at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City.
In May 1998, Robert became pastor of St. George Church in Jeffersonville, N.Y., serving until August 2002, when he returned again to St. Anthony Shrine as associate. He transferred to Holy Name Friary, Ringwood, in February 2007.
A wake was held on Jan. 21 at the Cortona Chapel of Holy Name Friary, presided by guardian A. Francis Soucy, OFM. A Wake Service, presided by John Hogan, OFM, was held Jan. 24 at St. Anthony Shrine. Raphael Bonanno, OFM, gave the eulogy.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Jan. 25 at St. Anthony Shrine. Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, was principal celebrant and Mathias Doyle, OFM, preached the homily. Burial followed at St. Joseph Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass.
Robert is survived by his brothers David, Richard and Edward and sisters Sr. Judith Nee, SND, and Patricia.
Condolences may be sent to Mr. David Nee, 161 Brooklawn Terrace, Fairfield CT 06430.