David Keith Nicholson was born on April 5, 1954, at the old Scotia Hospital. He died on April 24, 2021, at the age of 67 from complications of multiple myeloma in Bakersfield, California, while on vacation with his wife Cheryl.
Shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer in 2017, Dave wrote his own obituary:
Dave grew up on the family dairy farm at Grizzly Bluff in Ferndale. He graduated from the old Grizzly Bluff School and Ferndale High School, one of the “mighty crew of ’72.”
After graduation, Dave went to work for Peers Motor Sales, selling parts. When the dealership closed, he purchased the Ferndale Garbage Company, and operated it for 10 years. He was a partner in another agriculture business for 10 years and finished his parts career at Fernbridge Tractor.
After retiring, he and Cheryl planned to travel, and since Dave loved the Giants, their first trip was to spring training to see the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale. The trip was cut short when Dave was called back to Eureka, where he learned he had cancer.
While living on the Ferndale side of the river, Dave was baptized, confirmed and an active member of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. He was a member of the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department, serving many years as assistant chief. In 1994 he was named Fireman of the Year. Also in Ferndale, he served two terms on the city council (two years as mayor). Dave was also a charter member of the Ferndale Kiwanis club.
After moving across the river to the Fortuna side of Fernbridge, Dave continued his community service. He was a volunteer firefighter, and served as captain of Company 1, and as an assistant chief. After going exempt, he served the Fortuna Fire District as a commissioner. He was a member of the Fortuna Rodeo Association, served on the Fortuna Parks and Recreation Commission and was an active member of Christ Lutheran Church. In 2011, Dave and Cheryl were named Volunteers of the Year by the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce. Dave was a member of AA and recently received his 20-year chip.
For many years Dave played Santa for Eel River Valley families and other groups. Anyone who asked. He loved seeing the families grow and knew many of the children and their parents by name.
Dave was preceded in death by his parents, Keith and Helen (Farley) Nicholson, and his grandparents, Milton and Matilda Nicholson and Ambrose and Mary Farley.
He is survived by his wife Cheryl, and his stepchildren, who he loved like his own: Tina Mallo, Cherie Mallo and Grant Bryant, and his grandchildren Tarin, Talin, James and Vivienne. Also, his brother Larry Nicholson and wife Helene, and sister Shirley Bianco and husband Dan. And too damn many nieces, nephews and cousins to list. (His words.) Dave was a fourth-generation Humboldter, and now the Nicholsons can claim seven generations, with family still on the dairy at Grizzly Bluff.
Dave was a proud Republican! He thought Reagan was the best president and Truman was OK for a Democrat.
A Celebration of Dave’s Life will be held as soon as we can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to University of California at San Francisco Cancer Research.