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Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of Fr. William (Bill) M. Bichl, SJ, who died on December 19, 2015, in St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Oakland, Mich. He was 84 years old, a Jesuit for 61 years, and a priest for 48 years.
Bill was born on July 8, 1931, in Chicago. He graduated from Loyola Academy (then located in Dumbach Hall on the campus of Loyola University Chicago) and remained on Loyola University's campus, earning a bachelor's in philosophy in 1953 and a master's degree in philosophy in 1954. He entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on September 1, 1954, at Milford, Ohio and was ordained a priest on June 14, 1967, at Colombiere Center in Clarkston, Mich. Bill professed final vows on February 2, 1978, in the Jesuit Chapel of Rodman Hall on the campus of John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio.
As a Jesuit, Bill earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from St. Louis University in 1963 and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from Bellarmine School of Theology in North Aurora, Ill., in 1968. He earned a master's in theology from Loyola University Chicago in 1968.
From 1963-1964 during his regency, Bill was a visiting instructor in logic at John Carroll University. In 1970, Bill returned to John Carroll and remained there until he moved to Colombiere Center to care for his health in in December 2015. He held many positions over those 45 years: assistant professor of philosophy (1970-1982); acting assistant dean of Arts and Sciences (1982-1984); assistant dean of Arts and Sciences (1984-2006); director of Freshman and Sophomore Advising (1996-1998); and assistant to Development and Alumni Affairs and to Campus Ministry (2006-2015). Bill also found time to serve as the Detroit Province co-assistant for Higher Education (2003-2009) and to do sacramental ministry at Gesu Catholic Church.
After learning to swim as an adult, Bill swam laps every day the pool was open, until the last year of his life. He was also an avid fan of the John Carroll swim teams. This devotion combined with his great memory allowed him to share statistics from countless meets over the years.
Alumni regularly asked Bill to celebrate their weddings and the baptisms of their children. He touched the lives of many students, faculty, staff, and parishioners at Gesu over his 45 years in University Heights. He will be sorely missed by them.