5/30/1929 - 7/29/2018
Nicholas, 89, long time resident of Louisville/Superior, Colorado and Cooper Landing, Alaska passed away peacefully, Sunday 7/29/18. He is survived by daughter Mary Jo, sons Patrick, Vince (Eileen), Mark (Janice), Joseph (Kim). Seven grandchildren Jessica, Carrie (Adam), Aaren (Kyla), Patrick (Stephanie), Steven (Kellie), Jacob, Lisa (Brian). Eight great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. Preceded in death by wife Marjorie, son Michael and daughter Anne.
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Louis and Josephine LeMieux, he grew up with five brothers and two sisters. Graduated from Marquette University with a BS in chemistry. Marjorie Whelan met Nick through his mother; after marriage they moved to Pueblo Colorado, Marge’s hometown, in 1955. Moving to Boulder Colorado, he received his Master’s degree from the University of Colorado. They settled in the Louisville/Superior area where they raised their seven children. He taught high school biology, chemistry, physics, bio-chem techniques and math for over 40 years at Northglenn and Merrit Hutton high school in Adams County District 12. A highly regarded teacher, Nick received the National Educators Award for science teachers. His main focus was to not just prepare his students for college but that they may excel in whatever they did in the future. His students admired and loved him. His mentorship and guidance led many of his students to be highly regarded and appreciated by universities, colleges and employers nationwide.
Nick’s interests in life are too many to innumerate, but the one constant thread is passion for his community. Nothing made him happier than being able to help others. In Cooper Landing he was well known for his volunteer work as a teacher’s assistant at the school, cleaning his section of roadways, transfer sites, and Russian and Kenai river clean ups. He recently made a couple of benches for a new public path. He was a member of the river watch group that assisted those fishing and also helped protect the river.
Nick was very interested in nature, and his interest in biology was always evident. An enthusiastic hiker he could name most trees, and plants, by their scientific name which he was quick to share and photograph. He enjoyed gathering a wide variety of berries; many that ended up as wine. He enjoyed finding and eating mushrooms. He was an avid salmon fisherman. Very interested in geology, he collected fossils and minerals; including his samples of beach sands and volcanic ash from around the world. He traveled a great deal, and was an enthusiastic photographer. Nick would share his travels with individuals and groups often giving travel log presentations at the library. He extended his photography into microscopy as an aid to teaching and contributed to a book published on that topic. He was always looking for an opportunity that he could provide something to his communities.
Nick always had a number of projects underway. He constructed the addition on the house, and built a garage. He enjoyed wood working; tables, benches, crosses. He worked on linoleum carvings for block printing the yearly Christmas cards. He was an enthusiastic weaver of rugs and cloth. Nick made jewelry; his signature bolos, tie tacks, pins, rings and belt buckles. He made several chalices for different churches.
Nick had a lifelong love of classical music. He grew up playing the clarinet and at one point wanted to be an opera singer. He encouraged all those around him to play an instrument and was always ready to share his love of classical music and opera.
He was very engaged in the religious community and a founding member of Nativity of Our Lord in Broomfield CO. He was on the parish council for years, leader of song at Nativity, and also at John Newman in Cooper Landing; a real supporter of all the church activities.
He lived a full life and was ever focused on learning something new.