In Memory

Grover Nelson (Nickie) Jones

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06/01/12 08:28 AM #1    

Lea Tarina Hendrickson (Ray-Grob)

Nickie and I were friends from small children until he left for college.  (we had the same babysitter on Columbia Ave)  I heard from him early in the 90's and he had homes in Nevada, D.C. and CA.  He also climbed volcanos for recreation.  He passed away with Alzheimers.  It seemed so incredibly sad to me as he had such an awesome brain.  I will always miss him.

06/06/12 07:49 PM #2    

Alan Craig Hammaker

Nickie divided his life between "making computers jump" (his words) in Washington, DC, and his passion for mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada and for 6 weeks each summer in the French Alps near Chamonix.  The last time we shared together was in January 1977, when he took me for my first rock climb near Lake Tahoe, where we rappelled down from the summit by moonlight.  Fortunately, I could not see the abyss below.  As Lea pointed out, we lost him far too prematurely to an early, aggressive, and merciless process .  But up until near the end, email permitted us to keep in touch.

06/30/12 02:59 PM #3    

Harold Courtney Johnson

Ah, my very interesting friend Nickie. From Sunday school class to Boy Scouts to palling around in high school we shared many adventures. Nickie was only about three blocks away and we were frequently at each other’s houses. We shared a keen interest in science. I remember him cutting plywood into small blocks to build a model of an atomic pile. He always stretched the imagination.

I am not surprised to learn he was a mountain climber. He was never adverse to risk.  One of his interests was making gunpowder (and later flash powder).  He used it for rockets and bombs. His neighbors complained about the fiery things with long sticks landing on their roofs. 

One time he brought two bombs (gunpowder packed in class bottles) over to my house since I had a big backyard.  He lit the fuse on one and ran to join me on the ground about 60 feet away.  As the thunderous explosion faded I noticed the sound of glass shrapnel hitting the metal trash cans behind us.  As I lay there thinking “this is not very smart”, Nickie ran and lit the second one. KABOOM  tinkle tinkle.  Life was never dull with him around.

Nickie was unique in many ways. When the Beach Boys were popular, he was not the least bit deterred by the lack of an ocean in Kentucky and ordered a surf board.  He was probably the only person who ever surfed behind a boat on Herrington Lake. I knew he would find a way and I had the fun of witnessing him actually do it.

We lost touch around the time my first daughter was born in 1976 and our lives were going in different directions. It was quite a shock to learn he had died. It’s hard to think of a world without Nickie being in it somewhere.  I will always remember our times together.

I hope to reconnect with many old friends through this reunion.

08/26/12 01:40 AM #4    

Charles Holdaway

Nickie's journey has truly been a unique and remarkable one, and I am really glad I was able to be part of it. He had a tremendous impact on my life, as I know he has had on the life of everyone who has known him. I was always impressed by his intellect, and he taught me much about math and science and various foreign languages such as German and Spanish. He also inspired me to work harder and excel academically. He was primarily responsible for my decision to relocate to California after college, having introduced me to the Beach Boys music, surfing (on Herrington Lake - see Harold Johnson's note above), and other aspects of California culture. I will always remember the 6 weeks he and I were roomates at the University of Tennessee in 1959 during a National Science Foundation summer science program. Those were great times! Nickie always had a bizarre but delightful sense of humor which I found absolutely fascinating and entertaining. I am really sorry I didn't interract more with him after we both moved out west. He frequently invited me to visit him in Nevada, but circumstances always seemed to interfere, and I never made it over to Nevada. I am glad, however, that we stayed in touch, and that he and Debbie, with whom he lived for a great many years, and who stuck with him to the end while he battled a degenerative neurological disease, were able to visit us along with Larry Huffman in Hawaii approximately a year before his death. He definitely has made the world a more delightful place for all who have known him.

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