David E. Nichols
On March 31st, David E. Nichols, better known as Nick, of Wasilla, AK, died unexpectedly at age 71 of a hemorrhage in his brain as a result of endocarditis and dementia.
Nick proudly served 20 years in the United States Air Force as an aircraft mechanic and in munitions maintenance (AMMO), working his way up to Master Sergeant at retirement. He served two tours in the Vietnam War and played a critical role in Operation Eagle Claw during the Iran Hostage Rescue Mission of 1980. Following his twenty years of service to this country, he went on to work as a Correctional Officer at the Dakota County Jail in Hastings, MN, for nearly ten years. In 2000, Nick and his family moved to Anchorage, Alaska, to start his own handyman business, Grandpa’s Home Services, and eventually retired from SENCO Tools, Wasilla.
Through the years, many knew Nick as a handyman and mechanic tinkering around with his tools, spoiling his dogs, and sporting the best handyman t-shirts around. His family knew him best for his dry sense of humor, the tree houses he built, the stick-shift driving lessons, and for teaching his grandkids how to chop wood and how to use a gun safely, to name just a few.
Nick took pride in showing his wife Karen and two daughters Karina and Kim as much of the world as he could. From road trips to neighboring countries and states, to airshows and squadron parties, the memories his small family shared made fun stories for the “Old Grump” to share with the grandkids to follow.
One of his favorite things to do was “bonk” the grands, which became a wild and loud game of who could bonk Grandpa before he got them first. When he told the younger ones it was his way of saying he loved them, they always greeted him squealing as loud as they could, “bonk, bonk, BONK!”
In his 42 years married to his wife Karen, Nick was known for making her feel special whenever he could. He hid jewelry in her slippers, danced with her in their living room, and had a special way of saying, “I love you baby.”
Of all the people whose life he touched, his proudest achievement in life was marrying his wife Karen who supported him in all his glory during his heyday, and lovingly supported him physically during their last days together.
Nick is survived by his loving wife, Karen; daughters, Karina Wentworth and Kimberly Stuber (Jeremy); grandchildren, Micheal Horsman (Lexi), Krystina Stuber, Alisha Johnson, LJ, Nicholas and Jacob Wentworth; great-grandchildren, Ben and Emmett; his sister, Judy Carman (Bill); sister-in-laws, Marnie Baker and Joan Hamlett (Michael); and nieces and nephews.