Date of Birth September 10, 1954
Date Deceased March 21, 2022
Hometown Hammondsport
Home State N.Y.
Service Date April 22, 2022
Service Time 4:00 p.m.
Service Location Bishop & DeSanto Funeral Home, Hammondsport

Vincent L. Nykiel

HAMMONDSPORT – After a courageous fight with cancer, Vincent L. Nykiel, formerly of Elmira, NY, died on March 21, 2022, at his beloved Keuka Lake home in Hammondsport, NY.

Vinnie was born in Elmira, NY, on September 10, 1954, to Joseph and Elizabeth Teresa Tinkler Nykiel. He was predeceased by his parents and dear brother Jerry Nykiel of Elmira, NY; Grandparents Franczek and Helen Majchrzak Nickel (Nykiel) of Hudson, PA; William G. and Teresa O’Daniels Tinkler of Elmira, NY; Uncles William J Tinkler of Hartford, CT; Theodore Nickel of Hudson, PA; Walter Nickel of Somerdale, NJ; Aunts Eleanor Nickel of Hudson, PA; Virginia Tinkler of Elmira, NY.

Vinnie is survived by his wife of almost 20 years, Janet Morningstar Nykiel, whom he renewed vows with on the romantic shores of Keuka Lake nearly every year (although no one was invited); stepsons and their children to whom he was the best Papa: Kyle and Cathy Felt of Kenai, AK, and children Kelsea McSparron of Sayre, PA; Mary and Luna of Kenai, AK; Brian and Lauren Felt and children Evan and Eric, all of West Chester, PA; Colin and Candace Felt of Towanda, PA, and children Morgan of Sayre, PA; Caylee of Locke, NY; Julian, Cadence and Echo of Towanda, PA;

Brother Kenneth and Jean Nykiel of North Canton, OH; Nephew Daniel Joseph Nykiel and Kristen Kassouf of Livonia, MI; niece Katherine Nykiel Simons, Jonah Simons and their son Roarke of Cayuga, NY;

Cousins David and Maribeth Nickel & Beverly and Kevin Myers of NJ; as well as several cousins in the Elmira area.

His family also included Janet’s sisters Michele Morningstar & Karen and Cliff Miller; and her brothers Tom and Andrea Morningstar, Mark and Kelli Morningstar & their families.

Vinnie graduated from Southside High School in 1972, Corning Community College in 1974 and Cornell University in 1976. He earned master’s degrees from Rutgers and Penn State University.

After graduation he proudly held an environmental position at the NJ Meadowlands, which led to his career with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Eventually returning to Elmira, Vinnie initiated the recycling program in Chemung County and ultimately became the manager of the Chemung County Solid Waste District. Vinnie later managed the Cornell Dairy and finished his career as Manager of Campus Services & Building and Grounds at Mansfield University.

Always interested in the environment, genealogy, painting, music, contra dancing, and Keuka Lake, Vinnie was passionate about gardening, politics, and making the world a better place. He campaigned for Mo Udall and Bill Bradley in the 70s and recently organized locally Citizens for a Better Southern Tier and various postcard writing drives, working tirelessly for national & presidential campaigns. He freely gave of his time to support liberal causes. Another avid interest was volunteering for the Town of Wayne History Group, researching, cataloging and giving presentations in the area. Vinnie was an enthusiastic UCLA basketball and NY Yankee sports fan. His gardens and waterfall were another great source of pride and pleasure, but his grandchildren held his heart.

Vinnie was a terrific husband and even better Papa to his ten grandchildren, encouraging them to “make healthy life decisions.” His legendary bedtime stories were always requested, and his financial advice heeded. He enjoyed taking the grands boating, showing them his treasured Keuka Lake, and sharing his vast knowledge of history, geology, and botany with them.

Vinnie was diagnosed with Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC) many years ago and quietly managed his slow-growing disease. Recently the ACC became aggressive and sent him to Dana Farber Institute in Boston where he courageously participated with 35 others worldwide in a phase I clinical trial to advance medical science. Although initially Vinnie experienced positive indications of successful treatment, the cancer was relentless and not to be overcome.

A celebration of his life and accomplishments will be held on Earth Day, Friday, April 22nd, from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at the Bishop & DeSanto (formerly LaMarche) Funeral Home, 35 Main St, Hammondsport, NY.

Contributions can be made in his honor to: Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation, PO Box 442, Needham, MA 02494, info@accrf.org; ACS Hope Lodge, 125 S. Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02130 www.cancer.org/HopeLodgeBostonDonate; or a charity of one’s choice.

The Bishop & DeSanto (formerly LaMarche) Funeral Home, 35 Main St., Hammondsport, is honored to assist Vincent’s family with the arrangements.

To leave your own personal remembrance or condolence you may click on the link below or visit the Facebook page of Bishop-Johnson & DeSanto Funeral Home.

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10 Responses

  1. I became friends with Vinnie 54 years ago when I was 2 and our family moved next door to theirs on Penna Ave. Always looked up to Vinnie, and always admired him for finding time to shoot hoops with me in their backyard. He was a positive influence that always seemed to steer me into the right path,for the most part! Rest In Peace My True,Long Friend. You’ll be Greatly Missed but Always Remembered.

  2. My deepest heartfelt condolences to Janet and family. I worked in the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) with Vinnie years ago, and besides enjoying working with him, I greatly enjoyed his company during after work social and sports activities. He also helped support me through a very difficult family crisis back then. I regret that when he left NJDEP and moved back to Elmira for his next professional challenge that we did not keep in closer touch. The last time I actually saw him was many years ago, when we had a chance meeting at a gas station just north of Scranton, PA. My family and I were headed north to the 1000 Islands for vacation, and Vinnie was headed south from Elmira to visit some other former NJDEP co-worker friends. Travelling on long drives in opposite directions, we somehow met up at this gas station. A very great man has left us far too soon. Rest in peace, my friend.

  3. Janet and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. I remember meeting Vinnie years ago at OIP in Sayre and was so glad to see you so happy together. I’m sure you have many happy memories to hold onto. May God fill you with peace and comfort.

  4. To our “Jan Jan” and Vinnie’s family we offer our condolences. Dave and I only met Vinnie a few years ago at the Grassroots Festival in Tburg. We have known Janet most of our lives. But anyone who she loved must have been a great guy. We love you Jan Jan. Very much.
    Kay and Dave

  5. Thank you for being part of Vinnie’s life. I’ll remember him as being passionate about causes, but, at the same time, always with a devilish sense of humor.
    He will be greatly missed by those who knew him.
    Dan Short

  6. I will remember Vinnie as a genuinely nice kind person, I pften saw him at the Trumansburg Grassroots festival, we would always have such a nice conversation. He had my father as a teacher and would always speak so highly of him to me. I attended many of the rallies he organized and was in awe of his gentle kind nature but passionate work for justice and goodness. Happy for the wonderful life he shared with his family. A life well lived for sure. he left the world a better place, a true example of kindness,humility and zest for life.

  7.  Vinnie’s passing has hit us all very hard. He was the best one of all of us. This world has lost a passionate, kind-hearted, warm, caring human being. He fought for everything that was wrong to make it right. He just could not win this final battle.
    I love you Vinnie.
    Thank you for inspiring us all to do something good in this world.
    Love,
    Sue and Dave Johnson

     Vinnie’s passing has hit us all very hard. He was the best one of all of us. This world has lost a passionate, kind-hearted, warm, caring human being. He fought for everything that was wrong to make it right. He just could not win this final battle.
    I love you Vinnie.
    Thank you for inspiring us all to do something good in this world.
    Love,
    Sue and Dave

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