Richard “Nick” Nicholai
— March 7, 2023
Richard “Nick” Nicholai passed away suddenly March 7, 2023. Born in Point Huron, Mich., he attended the state school for blind students from age 5 until high school. He learned many practical things in middle school, including a course in piano tuning. He attended a public high school and state university, earning a band director degree.
He moved to Washington in the late 70s, where he continued playing in clubs and taught private jazz piano lessons. He enjoyed being a radio operator and helped Coast Guard in a boat rescue near Whidbey Island. He directed the Oak Harbor Community Band for a short time. He set up a studio at home where he could produce recordings.
In 2013, he met Judy, a singer and music director, who was looking for a piano player, and they became “Just In Time Jazz Duo.” They married and continued to bring joy through music in assisted living and retirement places in Island and Skagit Counties. They appeared at Rustica Café in Oak Harbor for the Sunday brunch several times and two years as valentine evening dinner music. For three years, they welcomed in the New Year at Creekside Retirement in Burlington. They also played at Mount Vernon, Burlington, and Anacortes Senior Centers. Go to: justintimejazzduo.com for more.
Nick is survived by his wife. Judy; his daughter, Melody; a son, Rick; and grandchildren. Much appreciation is given to the many listeners who loved the amazing talents he shared.