Robert Joseph Nichter
On November 27, 2013, at the age of 92, Robert J. Nichter passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on Geil Street in Salinas. He was born in Buffalo, New York, on July 1, 1921, and lived there until he joined the Navy in September 1939, before the onset of World War II.
Upon completion of his training at the Newport Island Naval Training Station, he was transferred aboard the USS Tarbell, an old World War I destroyer, for escort duty in the North Atlantic to keep German U-boats from sinking cargo ships and tankers.
In December 1941, after being transferred to landing craft school in Norfolk, VA, he served aboard the USS Libra, an attack transport cargo ship used during the war to land troops and tanks for Allied amphibious assaults. He was stationed in the South Pacific for 2½ years, and he was part of the Allied counter offense in Japanese occupied New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, ferrying assault troops to shore. In August 1942, he participated in the landings on Guadalcanal Island as well as D-day invasions on Rendova Island, New Georgia Island and on Bougainville. When asked what he was most proud of during his naval career, he quietly said that he was proud that not one marine was killed while on his landing craft. He got them all safely to shore.
Robert spent the remainder of his naval career at the Advanced Training Center in San Diego in a teaching capacity. There he met and married Mildred Allen Nichter. They settled in Salinas where Robert lived from 1946 until his death. He was a mechanic who owned and operated service stations at three locations on John Street and one location on North Main Street, ending his working years delivering furniture for JCPenney. He earned a reputation as an honorable man of business, a man who could be trusted.
He spent the remainder of his life living quietly in Salinas and could be seen walking on Main Street on his daily walks. He was a kind man who quietly helped less fortunate folks who crossed his path. In his spare time, he enjoyed gardening, bowling and writing poetry.
His wife, Mildred Nichter, and his son, Anthony Nichter, preceded Robert in death.
He is survived by two brothers, Howard and Mark Nichter; his daughters, Patricia Nichter Carlson and Susan Nichter; his son, James Michael Nichter; grandchildren, Nicole Carlson, Joseph, Robert and Daniel Nichter, and Caitlin and Casey Coats; and eight great-grandchildren.
A Graveside service at Queen of Heaven Cemetery will be held Friday, January 17, 2014 at 11 a.m., followed by a luncheon reception at the Monterey Coast Brewing Restaurant, 165 Main Street, in Old Town Salinas.
Funeral arrangements by Struve and Laporte Funeral Home.
For more information and to share a memory, please visit www.struveandlaporte.com