William L. Nikel, 89, of West Caldwell, NJ, died peacefully in his sleep on March 1, 2018 at home.
Mr. Nikel was born in La Junta, Colorado. The family moved east several years later. He grew up in Boonton NJ, starting his first business at age 14 as a Fuller Brush dealer, selling and delivering by bicycle. He received a B.A. in Economics in 1947 from Ursinus College, where he worked in the kitchen and dining room, and was headwaiter his senior year. His first job after college was as office boy, and soon afterward as a salesman of wallpaper paste and laundry starch for the Huron Milling Company. During the Korean War he served as a Naval Intelligence Reserve Officer, from1950 to 1952. After completing a six-month course at the Naval Intelligence School in Anacostia, D.C. he did security investigations in the Boston area.
In 1953, he married Nola Ann Lloyd at St. James Episcopal Church in Evansburg PA. He earned an MBA in Marketing at the Wharton School in 1954, graduating in the top fifth of the class. After doing marketing research at Lukens Steel Company, he became Marketing Research Manager at Noland Company, a plumbing/heating and industrial supply distributor in Newport News, VA. Active in the community, he served on the board of the Virginia Peninsula Homebuilders Association.
In 1966, the Nikel family moved to Montclair NJ, and joined St. John's Episcopal Church. Mr. Nikel served four terms on the vestry, was a lay reader and a chalice administrant for many years, and was known for welcoming newcomers. At the Episcopal Diocese of Newark's annual convention, he served as an elected deputy three times, and as a volunteer ten times. He also was a volunteer at Episcopal Church triennial general conventions in Philadelphia and Denver. An active alumnus of Ursinus College, he co-chaired five class reunions as well as the War Years Reunion of multiple classes.
In his career, following marketing research positions with the JC Penney Company, and Exxon Solar Thermal Systems, he transitioned to management consulting and presenting at marketing workshops, including 27 two-day workshops for the American Management Association. In 1977, after attending a two-week workshop by the author of "What Color Is Your Parachute", he began doing career development and job search counseling. Later, he became a Charter Member of the Association of Career Management Professionals, and was a presenter at the association's first annual conference. In 1988, he co-founded Job Seekers of Montclair NJ, a free training and support group that still meets weekly at an Episcopal Church, and has helped hundreds of people.
In 1998, among 90 charter residents, Mr. and Mrs. Nikel moved to Crane's Mill, a continuing care retirement community in West Caldwell NJ. On opening day, he began taking pictures of arriving residents, and soon formed the Welcome Committee. Later, he joined the Chorus and the Activities Committee, and also served a one-year term on the Residents Association board. His hobbies and interests included playing tenor saxophone, choral singing, hiking, cross country skiing, bicycling, and working out in the gym. He also enjoyed volunteering at the NJ Performing Arts Center in Newark.
Mr. Nikel is survived by his beloved wife, Nola, and four children: David and his wife Elizabeth of Long Valley NJ, and their children Patrick and Matthew; Andrew and his wife Jennifer of West Caldwell NJ, and their children Ben and Peter; Nell Wills and her husband Jim of Leesburg FL, and their daughter Heather; and Julie Valentine and her husband Rodney of Sanford FL, and their children Cooper, Chloe, and Tess.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mr. Nikel's memory to St. John's Episcopal Church, 59 Montclair Avenue, Montclair NJ 07042 or Lutheran Social Ministries of NJ, 3 Manhattan Drive, Burlington NJ 08016.
A service in Mr. Nikel's memory will be held on March 10 2018, at 2:00pm. at St. John's Episcopal Church in Montclair, NJ. To view the complete obituary, or to share a condolence or memory please visit: www.codeyjonesfh.com.