Donald Ben Nikolaus
Don was born June 11, 1923 in Zurich, Calif. Zurich was a train depot outside of Big Pine where his parents, Paul and Emily Nikolaus lived. Paul was the Slim Princess track supervisor for the Zurich line. Don graduated from Big Pine Unified High School in 1941. He enlisted into the United States Coast Guard Jan. 12, 1943 to April 3, 1946. Don was sent to the South Pacific War at Guadalcanal. He was a sharpshooter in rifle and received three stars in the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre of Operations, Good Conduct Medal, American Theatre of Operations, World War II Victory Ribbon, honorable discharge button, honorable service lapel button and a blue honorable discharge Emblem.
Don married Shirley Dean Edith Miller-Nikolaus Nov. 10, 1946. They were married for 50 years before Shirley passed in 1997. Don worked for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in Bishop for 41 years until he retired in January 1989. He lived in Big Pine and loved the Owens Valley. Don loved the outdoors. He hunted every year for his deer. He walked and knew the Sierra mountains very well. He also loved fishing. Every summer he would take his grand-daughter Amy fishing every weekend and sometimes she could talk him into it after work. They had their favorite fishing hole where they would go rain or shine. Later he took his great-grandchildren Jessica and Nik fishing.
Don loved his family and was always there for anyone who needed him. He loved his grandchildren and especially his three great-grandchildren. His great-grandchildren: Jessica, 20, Nikolaus, 16, and Destinie, 14. His two grandchildren: Amy Nikolaus, and Katie Stoner.
Don passed peacefully in his sleep on Nov. 21, 2012 after a short illness with lung cancer and a stroke. He is at peace now and no longer in pain or discomfort. He will always be with us in our hearts and memories.
He is proceeded in death by his wife Shirley of 50 years; brothers, Alfonse Nikolaus and Jim Nikolaus; sister and brother-in-law, Lillian Nelson and Ken Nelson; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Loren “Bud” Huffman and Dorothy “Dutch” Huffman; and brother-in-law, Scotty Miller.
Don is survived by his daughters, Patricia and husband, Don Wescott of Wellington, Nev. and Jennifer and husband, Dale Taylor of Big Pine; sisters-in-law, Betty Nikolaus of Gardnerville, Nev. and Evelyn Mae Nikolaus of Independence; grandchildren, Amy Nikolaus and boyfriend John Williamson of Bishop and Katie Stoner of Spokane, Wash.; great-grandchildren, Jessica Nelson of Orcutt, Nikolaus Steinwand of Bishop and Destinie Stoner of Spokane, WA.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Big Pine Cemetery. There will be a celebration of life luncheon following at the Big Pine Methodist Church. Services will allow for anyone who would like to share a special memory of Donald Ben.
In in-lieu of flowers the family would like any donations to be made to: Hospice of the Owens Valley, 155 Pioneer Lane, Bishop, CA 93514.