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March 14, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 10

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photo: Donna Henry (left), assistant principal of Portsmouth Regional Catholic School and chair of the Portsmouth Alumni Relations Team, and the school's principal Mary Ellen Paul flank Bill Ficenec who holds a plaque naming him to the Portsmouth Alumni Circle of Saints.

Donna Henry (left), assistant principal of Portsmouth Regional Catholic School and chair of the Portsmouth Alumni Relations Team, and the school's principal Mary Ellen Paul flank Bill Ficenec who holds a plaque naming him to the Portsmouth Alumni Circle of Saints.

William Ficenec honored by Portsmouth Alumni

William Ficenec, whom friends describe as kind, intelligent and a man of many talents, was inducted into the Portsmouth Catholic Alumni Circle of Saints Feb. 27 for his leadership in revitalizing All Saints Catholic Cemetery and for decades of volunteer work at St. Paul Parish, now part of the Cluster Parishes of Portsmouth and Chesapeake.

For its second year, the Portsmouth Catholic Alumni Relations Team honored a former Portsmouth Catholic student who exemplifies a life of good works and demonstrates discipleship, explained Donna Henry, chair of the alumni team.

Describing Mr. Ficenec as a “good-idea man” and a “roll-your-sleeves-up and get-it-done type of guy,” fellow volunteer and parishioner alumna Mary Sue O’Brien said he is a hard worker who doesn’t limit his services to “tasks of a high-profile nature.”

Mr. Ficenec, 68, has been a St. Paul parishioner for most of his life. He has volunteered in many ways including co-chairing the church’s history committee, serving as a docent when the church had tours, serving on the altar guild and being an organist, lector and Eucharistic minister.

He is presently chair of the board of directors of All Saints Catholic Cemetery, secretary to the Cluster Parish Council and a member of the parish building, grounds and maintenance committee.

Under his leadership, All Saints Catholic Cemetery has been beautified with fencing, landscaping, the construction of a Madonna and Christ Child Courtyard and the addition of a columbarium.

Portsmouth Catholic education traces its roots back to 1876 when St. Joseph’s Academy opened. Other schools followed including St. Paul’s, Holy Angels and the Little Flower elementary schools which consolidated in 1970 to create Portsmouth Catholic Regional School, the only remaining Catholic school in Portsmouth.

Mr. Ficenec attended first grade at St. Paul’s School 1953-1954, second through seventh at School of the Little Flower 1954-1961, and eighth through twelfth at Portsmouth Catholic High School where he graduated in 1965.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in French and a master’s in education at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. He worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in Portsmouth public schools and in administration in the Portsmouth and Newport News school systems before retiring in 2004.

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