Obituary: Harold “Nick” Nickerson
July 1, 1918 to June 14, 2014
Earlier this summer, Harold “Nick” Nickerson departed peacefully at his Potrero Hill home after a brief illness. Nick was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Hattie and George Nickerson. His grandparents, William and Katie Muth, owned the Muth German Beer Garden near Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, where many of his family members entertained patrons with their German band.
Nick was the last remaining of six siblings: Audrey, Ruth, Doris, George, Warren and Arthur Lee. He was a track star in high school, and survived a bout of tuberculosis as a young man.
A World War II veteran, Nick sailed to India and flew “The Hump — an air route taken by Allied pilots — from Burma into China to fight in the battle of Nanning. After the war he lived briefly in New York City, Los Angeles, and Carmel before moving to San Francisco, where he eventually settled into his cozy Hill home. He worked for many years as a stenographer for the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Nick had a broad circle of friends with whom he kept in touch throughout his life. These ranged from war buddies to coworkers to a tight-knit group of neighbors, including Mark and Alfredo, who offered devoted and constant care near the end of Nick’s life. He befriended many of the teachers and parents at Buena Vista Elementary during the years when he brought his young neighbors Clayton and Henry to school there. He often said he was the luckiest neighbor in the world, a sentiment echoed by the Kor/Bradley family who were fortunate to move in next door to him 21 years ago. He was in close touch with his many nieces and nephews and their children scattered throughout the country. Up until his 90s he drove and flew to Texas and Southern California to visit friends and family.
It was rare for Nick to miss a social event. He was an excellent dancer; his “wigwam wiggle” party entrances were memorable. His back-deck was a peaceful oasis where scrub jays ate peanuts from his hand, wind chimes rang in the breeze and the spouting-dolphin fountain trickled while Manhattans were served. Nick was a loving, generous, good man who enjoyed and appreciated his long life and liked to marvel that, “Somehow, things always work out.”