December 19, 1928-April 15, 2019
Eugene Nickolite, 90, died Monday, April 15, 2019, at his home.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Columbus. Visitation will be from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, with a 6 p.m. vigil service at McKown Funeral Home. Visitation will continue from noon-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, also at the funeral home. Burial will be in the St. Bonaventure Cemetery, with military honors by Hartman Post #84 American Legion Honor Guard.
Eugene Charles Nickolite was born on Dec. 19, 1928, in Columbus, to Charles and Emma Nickolite, the fourth of their 16 children. He grew up in Columbus and graduated from St. Bonaventure School in 1947. For a period of time after high school, he was a part owner of Nick's Bar in Columbus. At the age of 22 he enlisted in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant and receiving a Purple Heart for wounds received during battle. He served from Oct. 5, 1951–Oct. 4, 1954. Upon his return from Korea, he married the love of his life, Virginia Muhle on July 4, 1955, and had four children: Joy, Edward, Anthony, and Daniel. He attended classes at the University of Nebraska for a year shortly after his marriage, before returning to Columbus. In 1972, he built his own home and moved just south of Columbus on a small acreage with a pond so he could enjoy his favorite hobbies of hunting, fishing, and homesteading. He was especially known for making and smoking his homemade Polish sausage. Gene was employed by Behlen Manufacturing as the chief cost estimator, and retired in 1984. Among his favorite activities during retirement was traveling around the United States with Virginia in their RV. They also took trips to Hawaii, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and made a special trip to Europe where he was privileged to have a front row seat to see the Pope. He was steadfast in his faith and proud to be a founding member of the Saint Isidore Parish of the Catholic Church in Columbus. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans. He was honored to be selected as a model for the statue of the Korean War soldier on display at the Andrew Jackson Higgins Memorial at Pawnee Park in Columbus.
He is survived by wife, Virginia Nickolite (Muhle) of Bellwood; daughter, Joy Nickolite of Papillion; son, Edward (Patricia) Nickolite of Toledo, Ohio; son, Daniel Nickolilte of Bellwood; granddaughter, Robin Nickolite of Phoenix; grandson, Anthony Nickolite of Toledo; grandson, Christopher (Allison) Nickolite of Toledo; granddaughter, Danielle Nickolite (Brian Wemhoff) of Colon; granddaughter, Ashley Nickolite (Nick Rongish) of Columbus; granddaughter, Kaylee (Mike Medlar) of Lincoln; great-grandchildren: Jocelyn Nickolite, Payton Wilson, Lilly Eslinger, Deegan Eslinger, Bailey Rongish, Hazzel Medlar; brother, Ted (Birdie) Nickolite of Bellwood; brother, William (Mary) Nickolite of Hershey; brother, Mark Nickolite of New Mexico; sister, Joan Cech of Columbus; sister, Nancy (Jerry) Gabel of Columbus; sister, Sharon Nickolite of Columbus; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by son, Anthony Nickolite; parents, Charles and Emma Nickolite; parents-in-law, Edward and Magdalena Muhle; brothers: Charles Jr., Virgil (Judd), Richard and Dewey Nickolite; sisters: Betty Roberston, Charlene Hoegrel, Claire Ann Hopkins and Linda Fleischer.
Condolences may be left at www.mckownfuneralhome.com.