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Phillip R. Nicholson

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Phillip R. Nicholson Obituary
December 1935 - September 21, 2015 Phillip R. Nicholson, Founder of Cox, Castle & Nicholson, LLC passed away peacefully on Monday, September 21, 2015 at his home in Pacific Palisades, surrounded by his family. Phil was born in 1935 in Ottumwa, IA. His parents, the late Lloyd and Mary Ellen Nicholson moved Phil and his older sister to Redondo Beach in 1940. Phil attended Redondo Union High School and upon graduation in 1953, entered El Camino Junior College. He transferred to USC and worked his way through undergrad, earning a BA in 1957. Phil worked the next 18 months for the Daily Breeze and GMAC to fund his enrollment at USC Law School, where he received his JD, Order of the Coif in 1961. Phil began his law career at Dillavou & Cox and rose to Senior Partner. In 1968, he teamed with George Cox and Richard Castle to found Cox, Castle & Nicholson, which he led as Senior Partner of the Firm's Executive Committee until 1998, and continued servicing major clients until earlier this year. During Phil's tenure, CCN grew to its present position as one of the largest real estate specialty firms in the United States. Over the years, Phil's practice included all aspects of real estate law, and he was consistently recognized nationally for his work in complex real estate transactions and related litigation. He was continually on every major list of the nation's top lawyers and renowned by his industry leading clients and professional colleagues. A lecturer and industry leader, Phil was a member of the Board of Directors of the LA County Economic Development Corporation, active with the California Continuing Education of the Bar, frequent speaker and contributor of articles to leading real estate industry publications and real estate groups and associations. He had been active for many years in many building industry and real property development trade associations, including AGC, BIA, NAHB, NAIOP, PCBC, ACREL and others. Phil was a full member of Urban Land Institute and had been active in various ULI Councils. Phil had also been active in university real property programs, including having been an Advisory Board Member for the UCLA Center for Real Estate and Finance, and had been a member of the Executive Committee of the USC Lusk Center Real Estate Program. Phil was admired not only for his ability as a lawyer but as a true industry leader and confidant. He mentored scores of CCN lawyers and was a vital influence in the successful building of their productive careers. He treated everyone, from the boardroom to the mail room, with an equally high level of respect, setting the tone for all to follow. Phil was known for his unsurpassed work ethic, discipline, integrity and true love of the law. He loved his family, friends and firm, and they gratefully loved him throughout. The University of Southern California remained a constant in his life, well beyond his involvement with the Lusk Center. He was a loyal alumnus, both advising the University and rooting for its teams, rarely missing a Trojan home game. He was also active with Marymount High School, which his daughters attended, and President of the Fathers' Club. The school awarded him the President's Medal for his service. Friends, family and colleagues were inspired by Phil's athleticism. He was an avid road, mountain and track cyclist for over 40 years, riding nearly every day. He and his wife Joan had a passion for travel, exploring Europe, Asia, and Africa, often on bicycles. They also took many motorcycle trips, crisscrossing the US and Canada with friends or just the two of them. Another passion of Phil's was his love of music, mostly classical and jazz. He was an accomplished saxophone, flute and clarinet player. Phil is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Joan; his sister Lois Nicholson McCullough and four daughters: Jill Nicholson Samuel and her husband Robert, Lauren Nicholson, Jennifer Nicholson Salke and her husband Albert, and Amy Nicholson Zimmerman and her husband Craig. He was especially proud of his seven grandchildren: Niccolo, Charlie, Maisie, Henry, Kate, Georgia and Katherine. Funeral services are private. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Phil's memory to: Wilshire Hospice Attn: Admin. Assistant/Donations 3250 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 100-C Santa Monica, CA 90405 (310) 264-8413 www/wilshirehospices.org
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Sept. 24 to Sept. 27, 2015
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