James R. "Nick" Nicklas was born in Baltimore, Md. in May 1924, and passed away peacefully Friday, Sept. 20, 2013. Nick devoted his life to serving his country, community and the people around him. After graduation from St. John's High School in Frederick, Md., Nick joined the U.S. Navy. He served his country from 1942 to 1945 as a Gunners Mate. After the Navy, Nick joined the Merchant Marines as an able-bodied seaman. Nick married Frances Mary James in 1953. They lived in New York City and San Francisco, Calif. Nick worked in the pile-drivers, laborers and carpenter's union on both coasts. Throughout the 1950s, Nick and Frances worked tirelessly to promote union organization, were very active in the Civil Rights movement and were members of the NAACP. In 1964, Nick moved his young family to Arroyo Grande, where he began his career as a building inspector. Nick worked in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties as a city and county building inspector for 26 years '? he retired in 1992. Nick was at his happiest when was helping others and improving the lives of those around him. He was active in 4-H, FFA, band boosters, Knights of Columbus, American Legion, VFW, Eagles, Elks and St. Patricks Catholic Church. Among his many contributions to the community, he raised money to purchase new band uniforms for Orchard Middle School, sold watermelons for 4-H at the Harvest Festival and painted and re-roofed St. Francis Church in Oceano. Nick is survived by his son, James "Jim" A. Nicklas (Maureen) of Santa Rosa, Calif.; daughter, Trina Nicklas Clark (David) of Arroyo Grande; beloved grandchildren Kelsey, Katy, James, Drew and Tessa; and brother, William Rogers Nicklas of Buckeystown, Md. He was preceded in death by his wife of 38 years, Frances James Nicklas. A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, at St. Patricks's Catholic Church, 501 Fair Oaks Ave. in Arroyo Grande, with a reception to follow at the Parrish Hall. Private internment will take place at Arroyo Grande Cemetery at a later date. If you wish to honor Nick, please donate in his name to your local Hospice Care Society. Sign Nick's guest book at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries.
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Published in San Luis Obispo Tribune on Sept. 29, 2013