Obituary for Vimala Muni John Nemick Roshi

With great sadness Hollow Bones lost another leader just over a week ago. We send our condolences to his family and the Green Bay Zen Center Sangha. He will be missed. A memorial service will be announced shortly.


John Peter Nemick, Roshi Vimala Muni, age 69, of Green Bay, WI, passed away on July 3, 2021 with his son Philip and good friends at his side, following complications from surgery. He will be sadly missed by his family, his friends and colleagues, his Zen community and the many, many people who loved and admired him throughout his life.

John’s life was dedicated to supporting others through compassion, kindness and his commitment to Buddhist principles. He began his Zen practice in 1973, and studied at the Minnesota Zen Center in 1975. John then worked and studied for years with Abbot Junpo Denis Kelly Roshi, his good friend and teacher, and helped found the Green Bay Zen Center in 1995. John took his vows in 1998 and was ordained as a Priest in the Hollow Bones Rinzai Order in 2003. He received his Senior Teacher designation in 2012. John led Zen meditation at the Green Bay center twice a week and assisted others in their practice. He regularly contributed to the Green Bay Press Gazette Religion page and taught courses in Buddhism throughout Green Bay.

John was a Licensed Psychotherapist and worked many years at Family Services of Northeast WI. He most recently worked as a supervising social worker at Power for Change in Green Bay.

John was active in the Mankind Project, helping men to discover their “authentic masculinity,” and worked with the TRUTH program, bringing opportunities for personal growth to incarcerated men in Wisconsin.

John was born in Fond du Lac, attended Catholic grade school and high school in Menasha, WI. He then attended St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI and received a Master’s Degree in Educational Psychology from UW-Milwaukee.


In recent years, John had more time to add to his travel experiences with trips to Portugal and Nova Scotia (oysters!) with friends. He visited his sisters in California and Arizona and spent time with good friends in Palm Springs in the colder months. He spent as much time as he could with his son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren and made time to visit his aunt and cousins in Fond du Lac. John cherished his time with his college “Slummers,” whether it was the annual “Fall Conference” in the woods, or other visits. He also never missed a Friday at La Vie Boheme, filled with some of his very favorite people. John was a lifelong Packer fan, funny as hell, and a voracious reader, which fed his endless curiosity about life and people. The circles of friends and family who loved him and miss him is extensive and the people whose lives he touched is impossible to capture. But together we will be grateful we had him in our lives as long as we did and will do our best to honor him in the way he would want us to; by being patient, tolerant, and kind, and giving back to those in need… and never saying no to a cold beer or a good glass of wine.

John is preceded in death by his parents John and Genevieve Nemick. He is survived by his beloved son Philip Nemick, his daughter-in-law Emma Nemick, his granddaughters Savanah and Kira, and his sisters Jane (Michael) Zimmerman and Mary Nemick, as well as his aunts Faye Nemick, Rosemary Kohn and many cousins.

We invite you to leave a comment on this blog as a way of signing the guestbook, sharing memories or thoughts about Vimala Roshi.

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