Former Juneau resident Nicholas Joseph Vonda Jr. died unexpectedly on Oct. 4, 2007, at Mount Edgecumbe Hospital in Sitka, while being treated for pneunomia. He was 60.
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Born Jan. 23, 1947, in Juneau, to Joe and Ella Vonda, he was third to the oldest of nine brothers and two sisters. He was Deisheetaan of the Deishuhit and served in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969 in Korea. He also was a member of the Sitka American Legion, Sitka Moose Lodge, Labor Union 71 and a fisherman on the Katherine S.
At an early age, his father taught him to play the guitar. All the brothers eventually became musicians in varying degrees of expertise. He became a professional musician, traveling throughout the Lower 48, performing with Bill Evans as the Timber Tramps.
In Juneau, he formed the Vonda Brothers Band, playing in various bars, hired to perform at many special events. When he moved to Sitka in 1981, he continued performing with a variety of musicians. Eventually, as a solo act, he became known as "Nick at Night."
He was employed as a maintenance technician for the Mount Edgecumbe School District. People who worked with him praised his work ability, knowledge, ethics and dependability, his family said. One co-worker described how he was good for the group: "Whenever our crew was having a bad day and bickering, Nick would end the day by saying 'OK, group hug.'"
His caring made him a very special co-worker, his family said. He enjoyed his job very much, especially when doing service calls for staff and students at the school.
He enjoyed fishing, photography, gardening, cooking and working with his hands to build things. According to his family, he was well known for his loving, caring and understanding for family and friends. He would always contribute his time to the betterment of life through his music, they said.
"He definitely left a positive influence on many people and will truly be missed," his family said. "Rest in peace, Nick. We love you."
He was preceded in death by his father, Nicholas Joseph Vonda Sr.; brothers, Robert, Richard and Joe Vonda; and granddaughter, Alexa Vonda.
He is survived by his mother, Ella Vonda; sisters, Josephine Nelson and her husband, Bruce, and Janet McCarty and her husband, Tim; brothers, Norman, Bob, Ray, John and Rudy Vonda; the mother of his three children, Marjorie Buckner; children, Beverly, Nick III and Jason Vonda and their half siblings, Allen Locke, Terry Bermudez and Tonya Vonda; grandchildren, Tonie, Jamie, Margorie, Natalie, Carrie, Renee, Haley, Chloe, Nick IV, Kendra, Kayloni, Paul and Jordon Vonda; great-granddaughter, Natalia Vonda; companion, Esther Lawson and her children, Brian, Missy, Lisa, Angela and Debbie Martin, Valeri Barkhoefer and her husband, Ty, and Bill Evans; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends across Alaska and the Lower 48.
Memorial services will be held at noon today at the Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary.