Paul was born in Salina, Kansas on January 17, 1921 one of four children to Clara and Jerry Nicholas. They moved to Hays, Kansas in 1933 where he graduated from high school in 1938 and attended Fort Hays University until 1940.
He then transferred to Montana State University in Missoula where he continued his studies in Forestry and played collegiate level basketball earning a scholarship and varsity letter.
Paul also worked part-time in the summer months with the U.S. Forest Service as a forest fire fighter and in one of the early smoke jumper response unit, parachuting on forest fires and other medical emergencies in the northwestern United States.
He then entered military service in 1942 as a parachute rigger and certified mechanic for the U.S. Army Air Corp. After completing flight training, he became certified to fly the PT-17 Steadman, BT-13A Vultee, AT-6 and the B-25 aircraft. He went on to be commissioned as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force and later became a certified helicopter pilot.
He was a veteran of World War II and Korea with Air Sea Rescue (later known as the Air Rescue Service) and was stationed on various islands in the Pacific Theater and the west coast of the United States. Paul flew bombers, amphibious planes, cargo planes and helicopters as the missions required.
In 1949 he married the love of his life, Barbara Blenderman and they began their family, having 6 children while being on active duty.
At the end of the war an Air Force directive communicated that his air crew would be assigned logistic duties and he moved to McChord AFB Washington to oversee supply, personnel equipment and Para Rescue Medical personnel.
In 1960 he was transferred to the Air Defense Command (ADC) headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO for a staff materials position. During ADC tour, while keeping his pilot duties, he returned to Fort Hayes University under Project Bootstrap and complete his Bachelor of Science degree.
Retiring as a Major after 20 years in the U.S. Air Force in 1964, he entered Civil Service at Hill AFB in Ogden, UT, where he was assigned as an Equipment Logistic Specialist supporting tactical air to ground and bombing ranges used by the Tactical Air Commands. He was awarded multiple Sustained Superior Performance Award and the ALC Commanders Award in these roles.
Continuing his logistical leadership, he worked with the F-16 program on equipment guidance and was transferred to the Simulator Program Office at ASD, Warner Robins AFB and Wright Patterson AFB OH in 1975 for support of the aircraft simulators used in the Air Force inventory. His last role was working in Source Selection with aircraft manufactures on critical equipment system requirements.
He retired from the Civil Service 1983 after 20 years and began his volunteer service. He enjoyed working at the Wright Patterson AFB Medical Center for over 35 years in the various functions within the U.S. Air Force pharmacy. During this service he received the Retired Activities Volunteer of the year recognition at WPAFB.
Paul was a member of Saint Peters Parish and the Knights of Columbus (4424). Paul was a reserved, quiet and joyful personality with friends. He actively enjoyed golfing, bowling, ballroom dancing, swimming, exercise programs and salmon fishing in Michigan. As a father, he took on a wide variety of outdoor activities and sports involving all of his children throughout the years.
Paul was a member of various fraternal and military organizations including the National Smoke Jumpers Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars (9977), American Legion (2021), Fraternal Order of Eagles (2641), Order of the Daedalians (Flight 9), Dayton Area Chapter of Military Officers Association and Paul was an active member of the Senior Citizen Centers at Huber Heights, Fairborn and Lathem centers.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 50 years, Barbara A. Blenderman and eldest son, Gary Lawrence Nicholas.
Paul is survived by two daughters: Constance (Gary) Cline of Lafayette, CO and Therese (Teri) Nicholas of Huber Heights, OH; and three sons: Paul B. Nicholas of Salt Lake City UT; Patrick (Jae) Nicholas of Las Vegas, NV; Michael (Claire) Nicholas of Pataskala, OH. Paul is also survived by three grandchildren: Brandon, Shae, and Zane and a very special companion: Barbara Markley of Huber Heights, OH.
Visitation will be held on Friday, October 11, 2019 from 5 pm - 7 pm at Newcomer North Chapel (4104 Needmore Road, Dayton, OH 45424). A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 10 am at St. Peter Catholic Church (6161 Chambersburg Road, Huber Heights, OH 45424). Burial will take place at a later date in Ogden City Cemetery in Ogden, UT.
To share a memory of Paul or leave a special message for his family, please click the "Share Memories" button above.