Captain John L. Nicholson, USN, (Ret.), 92 years of age, died on March 15, 2023 in Santa Maria, CA. He was born July 6, 1930 in Bombay, India. He graduated from Oberlin College, where he met Evelyn Sadona. They married in 1953 the same year John joined the Navy.  John began flight training in 1954 and participated in a total of 11 deployments. Three of these deployments were in a leadership capacity; Operations Officer on the USS Enterprise in 1971, Command of the USS Kawishiwi, 1973-1974 and Commanding Officer of the USS Ranger 1974-1976. It was after the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in August 1964 in which John’s wingman, Everett Alvarez, was shot down, that John committed to continuous deployments until Everett was released as a prisoner of war 8 ½ years later.  John retired from active duty with the Navy in 1977 and began teaching NJROTC in Sanger, CA until retiring 1994, at which time he also departed Naval Service. One of John’s highlights in his teaching career was receiving a Presidential Letter from President Reagan after 8 students from Sanger’s class of 1985, NJROTC garnered appointments to the US Naval Academy.

Wanting to escape the Central Valley heat, John and Evie decided to retire in Nipomo, CA.

John’s love for people, leadership and “Press On” approach to life and Evelyn’s commitment, strength and grace, made for a remarkable 68 years of life together.

John was proceeded in death by his parents, John L. Nicholson, Sr., and Amanda S. Nicholson, his sister, Dorothy A. Nicholson and his wife Evelyn S. Nicholson.

He is survived by his four daughters. Paula Gyura (Joseph), Rochester, MN, Jennifer Crawford, Visalia, CA, Jacquelyn Crabb (Charles), San Luis Obsipo, CA, Eve Nicholson, Nipomo, CA, 9 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

A family service for both John & Evelyn will be held this summer in Rochester, MN.

You are welcome to send condolences to the family, share stories and/or view the historic chronicle of John’s Naval career.