Louis Nickoloff, 95, lifetime resident of Mount Union, passed away peacefully in his sleep Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at AristaCare at Woodland Park, Orbisonia.
Born Feb. 11, 1924, in Cedar Crest, Lucy Furnace, Mount Union, he was a son of the late Crist and Mary Agnes (Mazer) Nickoloff. He was twice married, first to the former Rose Scrivo and later to the former Mary Lou Myers. Both women preceded him in death.
Mr. Nickoloff is survived by two children, Gary Nickoloff and wife, Carol, of Newport, Michigan, and Rhonda Nickoloff Jenkins and husband, Bruce, of Mount Union. He was fondly known as “Pappy” to his seven grandchildren, Melanie Robison of Schuylkill Haven, Shanna Jenkins, Branda Arnold, Bruce Jenkins II and Stephen Jenkins, all of Mount Union, and Tammy Nichols and Tina Noland, both of Monroe, Michigan; 21 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.
The last surviving member of his immediate family, he was preceded in death by a grandson, Gary John Nickoloff; one great-grandson, Caulder Wertz; and nine siblings: Ralph, Flossie, Dan, Annie, Alec, Sam, Frank, John and Mary.
Mr. Nickoloff volunteered to serve his country Nov. 27, 1942, by enlisting in the United States Army. He served as a paratrooper with the 508th Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne as a light machine gunner during World War II. After extensive training and maneuvers, he left the states for overseas duty in December 1943, landing in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in January 1944. He was stationed with the 508th in Nottinghamshire, England, as part of the 82nd “All American” Airborne Division. He spent 15 months overseas participating in the spearhead attack Operation Overlord, jumping into Normandy at 2:15 a.m. June 6, 1944, D-Day. The immediate objective was to jump in behind enemy lines to distract the enemy to enable ground forces to land and invade the continent. Of the 2,056 paratroopers who participated in the D-Day landings, Mr. Nickoloff was one of only 995 who returned to their station in England. For his gallantry and combat action during the first three days of fighting, Mr. Nickoloff was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. He also participated in the Battle of the Bulge across France and Luxembourg into Belgium. During his time overseas, he was credited with a total of 14 jumps, two of which were combat jumps in Normandy and Holland.
On Jan. 7, 1945, he was wounded in action during the Battle of the Bulge, for which he received the Purple Heart. For his valiant service in World War II, his awards included the Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation, Belgium Fourragere, EAME Campaign Medal with three Bronze Battle Stars, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Theater Ribbon, one Bronze Arrowhead, the Combat Infantry Badge and the Orange Lanyard of Royal Netherlands Army.
Mr. Nickoloff’s patriotism continued after his military discharge as a lifetime member of the Blue Juniata VFW Post 5754 and a member of the Simpson Hunt Post 107 American Legion, both in Mount Union. Many residents will remember seeing him represent the Disabled American Veterans in the annual Memorial Day parade and services in Mount Union.
After family, Mr. Nickoloff’s greatest love was flying. After returning from the war, he earned his pilot’s license and spent many years flying small planes around the central Pennsylvania area. He also continued skydiving and made many jumps with the Midwest Skydiving Club near Wyandotte, Michigan.
In his 70s, Mr. Nickoloff traveled weekly to Frederick, Maryland, to take lessons toward earning his helicopter pilot’s license. He made one trip from Frederick to Mount Union, where he landed along the Juniata River near his home and again outside of Allenport behind his daughter’s home. This trip will be fondly remembered by his children, grandchildren and friends.
Friends are welcome to join the family at 11 a.m. Monday, July 15, for graveside services with military honors in the Orthodox section of Mount Union Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Blinded Veteran Association at www.bva.org/donate-blinded-veterans.
Arrangements are under the direction of Heath-Anderson Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Mount Union, “Honored Provider of Veterans Funeral Care™.”