Gary Nicholson
Gary Nicholson

Obituary of Gary Lee Nicholson

Gary Lee Nicholson passed away at his home on December 1, 2013 at the age of 77 after a long, courageous battle with leukemia.

Gary was born on May 2, 1936 in Portland, Oregon to Clyde and Irene (Waggoner) Nicholson. Gary was preceded in death by his parents; his stepfather, Aubrey “Skeet” Richardson; his wife, Beverly; infant son, Donald; and brothers, Larry, Monty and Dwight. He is survived by his wife, Kay; sisters, Dorothy, Joyce and Barbara; his children, Norm, Cathy (Ed), Chuck (Cris), Bruce (Donna); and his stepchildren, Phillip (Nancy), Skylar (Erin), and JoEllen.

Gary lived in Estacada, Oregon, then in Grays Harbor, attending schools in Hoquiam and Aberdeen, and graduating in 1954 from Montesano where he went to state in basketball. He was a member of the 1954 team that was inducted in the Montesano Hall of Fame. Gary and his brothers were all very involved in sports and very good ball players. Gary was always the leader of the team.

After graduating, Gary married Beverly Hopper on August 18, 1954. They settled down in Montesano and began raising their family. Gary and Bev had four children, Norm, Cathy, Chuck and Bruce.

Gary began his career at the Grays Harbor Assessor’s office, followed by training as an appraiser with Zelasko Realty. He then went to work for the State of Washington as an appraiser. Gary moved his family to Lacey. In 1985, Gary’s wife Bev passed away, and soon after he retired from the state and started his own appraisal business in Olympia, “Nicholson Appraisal.”

He was very active with Little League where he coached Early Tire, a team on which two of his sons, Norm and Chuck, played for over 12 years. They placed first for many of those years. He led a Babe Ruth team to state in 1973. He coached baseball through 1979 and again was very successful. Gary also coached a high school basketball team in the summer of 1977 with no losses. His coaching style was very positive and encouraging. He was a much respected coach.

Gary bought vacation property at Shorecrest in Shelton where many memories were made with his family. Gary spent much time with his children, camping, picnicking, at the drive-in, bowling and skating. His children and grandchildren were very important to him.

He met Kay Markel and they married on October 13, 1987. They combined their families together and raised Kay’s three children, Phillip, Skylar and JoEllen, along with Gary’s son Bruce. He loved his stepchildren like his own.

Gary and Kay have 14 grandchildren, five great grandchildren and two more great grandchildren on the way. They have been raising Mariah, 17, their granddaughter, since birth. Mariah has special needs and they both unselfishly have given her the best life any little girl could ask for. Gary loved Mariah. She brought incredible joy to his life.

Gary loved sports of all kinds, baseball, football, basketball, golf. He belonged to many bowling leagues over the years. He enjoyed playing cards, especially poker. He also loved building things and working with wood. He built his first son’s rocking horse as well as household furniture, birdhouses, and squirrel feeders. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was a great practical joker. He loved kids of all ages. Children were instantly drawn to him due to his patience and humor. Spending time with his family was very important to Gary. He and Kay made many trips to their favorite vacation spot, Hawaii.

Gary was the best dad, husband, grandpa and great grandpa that anyone could dream of. He will be truly missed by everyone who knew him.

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