Passed unexpectedly after a sudden illness at University Medical Center in Tucson, AZ on February 8, 2013, surrounded by his loving family as well as the thoughts and prayers of family and friends. Born January 26, 1970 to Denis and Sandra Nickel, he was raised in the Bennett Valley area of Santa Rosa along with sisters Wendy and Amy. He attended Strawberry, Slater JH, Montgomery HS (Class of 1988) and Santa Rosa JC. Nick (or Nicky) was passionate about all things sports; his childhood room was filled with awards and trophies. He played RVLL baseball, Annadel Youth Soccer, Slater basketball and track and Montgomery High soccer/baseball. He later played volleyball and softball with local adult teams. At age two, his passion for fishing was born, with his dad showing him how to bait his first hook and cast the line. Nick loved the challenge of catching the next big fish. Unless his little sister was on the trip, he often caught the largest fish, much to the chagrin of his dad, grandpa and uncles. Raised with an appreciation for the outdoors, he enjoyed summer family vacations in Santa Cruz, Thanksgiving feasts in Armstrong Woods, Howarth Park train/pony rides and feeding the ducks adventures with his little girls, and fishing with his dad at Lake Ilsanjo. Animals seemed to gravitate toward Nick, following him home when he worked his first job as a paperboy for the Press Democrat. He could always charm his parents into allowing another pet into the family. Throughout his life, Nick cared for many strays, nursing them back to health and making them part of the family. Nick was fascinated with the guitar as a toddler and eventually began lessons at Slater. He spent many hours playing music with friends and for family. His guitar and music became his constant companions for the remainder of his life. Nick was kind, playful, talented, humorous, charismatic, athletic, intelligent and loving. He is survived by his beloved children: daughters, McKenna, Morgan and Mya; son, Mariano; mother, Sandra; sisters, Wendy and Amy; nieces, Emma and Hope, and a large extended family. He was predeceased by his father, Denis. Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Nick's Life at Howarth Park Gazebo on Summerfield Road, Santa Rosa, on March 23, 2013 between 1-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Warren J Nickel Memorial Fund at Exchange Bank.
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Mar. 15 to Mar. 21, 2013