William Nickinovich


Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Former Juneau resident William "Bill" Nickinovich died Aug. 25, 2007, surrounded by family at his home in Magnolia, Wash. He was 94.

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He was born March 15, 1913, in Liubotini, Montenegro, to Vaso and Masha Nichinovich. He immigrated with his mother through Ellis Island when he was 7 to join his father, who had immigrated five years earlier, in Juneau.

During his teens, he worked in the mines, fish canneries and saw mills in and around Juneau.

His exceptional athletic abilities earned him all-Alaska honors for basketball and Amateur Athletic Union Golden Gloves recognition for boxing.

After attending Stanford University, his noteworthy career included working as a labor management mediator for the Department of Labor and Industries for the state of Washington. During the wage price freeze during the Korean War, he served as the American Federation of Labor's executive assistant on the Wage Stabilization Board. He used his communication skills to continue to focus on his passion of protecting the rights and well-being of workers, ultimately as the international representative for the Graphic Communication International Union for 32 years. His responsibilities included local union regional negotiations and appearances before the National Labor Relations Board.

He married Ruth Connon in 1942. They raised two children in the Seward Park area of Seattle. He was active with both sons' activities and sporting events, as well as in the Serbian community.

For many years, he volunteered as a basketball coach for the Seattle Police Guild for youth from the Seattle area. To help preserve the culture of his beloved Montenegro, he wholeheartedly shared his love of ancient songs and stories with his grandchildren, his family said.

He is survived by his wife; sons, David Nickinovich and his wife, Vicki, and Bob Nickinovich; grandchildren, Tanya, Robert and Victor Nickinovich; brothers, John Nickinovich and Roger Nickinovich; sisters, Dollie Skjonsberg and Mae Newton; and cousins, Bill, John and Don Dapcevich, and Violet Cope and Natalie Alton, all of Juneau.

Services were held Aug. 30 at Bonney-Watson Funeral Home in Seattle. An interment followed at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to hospice or a charity of choice.

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