johnnicholson
John Francis Nicholson May 5, 1952 - December 26, 2011 John Francis Nicholson, 59, passed away peacefully after a short, courageous battle with lymphoma. His fiancée and family were by his side, at his Marina Del Rey, CA home. Born in San Francisco CA, to Leonard and Mary John Nicholson, John spent his formative years in the city he loved, Chicago. John attended Taft High School in Chicago IL, continued his education at University of Illinois, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and received his JD from Northwestern University School of Law, in 1978. John was a senior partner at Cox, Castle & Nicholson, with over 30 years of transactional experience. His creative, innovative thought process of "thinking outside of the box" made John renowned and highly regarded by his peers. A legal "quarterback", John's focus was to establish and maintain long term relationship with his clients. John is survived by his fiancée Aneela Zaman, mother Mary John Nicholson, brothers Michael (wife Eva), James (wife Jan), Steven, and Todd (wife Gail) Nicholson, sister Marylinn Nicholson Schwanitz (husband Brian), half-sister Diana Porter (husband Merlin), half-brother Lenny Nicholson and many beautiful nieces and nephews. He cared deeply for all of his family and was an inspiration to everyone who knew him. We will all miss his beautiful sense of humor and joie de vivre.

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  1. I am deeply sadden by the news of John’s passing. In my 20 years of knowing him I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t belly laughing with him and enjoying his sense of humor – a true friend through thick and thin. John will live in the hearts of everyone loved him. …you will be sorely missed my consigliere… Thoughts of heartfelt sympathy are with the Nicholson family. Love, Sylvia

  2. I am deeply sadden by the news of John’s passing. In my 20 years of knowing him I don’t remember a time where I wasn’t belly laughing with him and enjoying his sense of humor – a true friend through thick and thin. John will live in the hearts of everyone loved him. …you will be sorely missed my consigliere… Thoughts of heartfelt sympathy are with the Nicholson family. Love, Sylvia

  3. John handled a number of transactions for me. Of course he worked in a style that was totally atypical of most attorneys. He actually made going to your lawyer’s office fun! Just a fantastic human being. I’ll miss him a lot. Of course what happened is completely unfair and almost impossible to believe but something tells me he’s up there somewhere in a better place….and he’s smiling that great smile.

  4. John was one of the few great guys you meet along the way, and definitely a brilliant corporate lawyer who had a legion of loyal and thankful clients. St Pete will have a tough competitor in the next touch football game! God bless John!

  5. I am devestated by the passing of my best friend. John fought courageously until the end and never gave up. He is a true warrior and my hero. John’s zest for life is my inspiration. I am grateful for so many wonderful memories. I will miss him every single day.

  6. I was very saddened to hear of John’s passing. He was not only a great attorney but a wonderful person. Early on in my career as a Manager, John would always take the time to counsel me and offer his advice and guidance. Whenever I saw John, even if a year had gone by, he greeted me as if he just saw me yesterday! He had a passion for life that was truly a gift. He will be missed.

  7. I met John just one time for a 2 1/2 hour lunch on Aug 24th at the Ivy Restaurant. We talked about Chicago, family and friends and the value of it all. Not about business. In short, after John passed, I then understood what the message of our conversations meant. In the end, it is not about the Quantity of our lives but the quality. Thanks for the lesson John, I will carry it forward. Just another 59 year old from the midwest. Bless you and your friends and family!

  8. “Nick” was one of my very best friends growing up and going to Hitch and Taft. We played softball in summers, hung out during school hours and also spent time together working pt-time jobs. First we worked at AB Dick, making a paper products catalog and playing one-on-one during breaks. It was a job I helped him get. Then, he returned the favor and helped me get a job with him at the old Lectrom (sp?) factory on Northwest Hwy, making electric resistors. John did have a great (and often warped)sense of humor, and I mean that as a compliment. He was always fun to be around and made you laugh every day. We shared many memories from Junior Prom to Taft Football to some of the characters we worked with, and the girls we had crushes on. I regret that I had not seen him for years but am forever grateful that we made contact via e-mail prior to Taft’s 40th reunion. His sense of humor was still very evident. I would also like to say how much I admired him. He did not have the easiest childhood, yet he had drive and determination which was unmatched, both on the football field, in HS and then in college, and then in his career. I am really sad that he is no longer with us, but my life was sure more enjoyable by having him as a friend. What do you think Nick? I would always say that to him. There. I’ve said it again. Nick I hope you can hear me and you’re smiling.

  9. John was always so full of spirit and energy. He loved life, appreciated beauty and got that life was about the journey and the experiences along the way. He was much like a child in this way, finding joy in everything from discovering a new restaurant to an enlightened piece of literature. I didn’t spend a lot of time with John, but in the few moments shared, this was my impression of him. It was clear to see he was interested and generous and committed to growing more each day. As the fiancee of one of my close friends, I regret not getting to spend more time with him. My heart goes out to my friend Aneela and all of the friends and family members that were touched by John’s presence in their lives. I find consolation in the belief that he is now healthy and free on the other side, living life to the fullest, in true John fashion.

  10. My condolences to all of my Uncle Johns family and friends, especially those that helped see him through the hard time of late. He had a way of making you feel comfortable, interesting, and important. I will miss him. Thank you John for everything.

  11. I was John’s assistant for several years but it seemed like it could have been 20. He was challenging, demanding, generous, thoughtful and hilarious all on the same day, every day. My sincerest condolences to his family and fiance. He was one in a million and having spent some time with him, I know that my life was enriched significantly both professionally and personally. He will be missed and loved forever.

  12. I’m so sadden to hear about John’s passing. It is unbelievable to me that he’s gone. Although I did not work with him directly, I sat across from him for over 8 years and kept in touch afterwards. He was such a funny person that when the world around you is chaotic, he would cheer you up with his sense of humor. His quotes from “Scent of Woman” or anything Al Pacino was in. He made you smile and laugh. As I am sadden to hear of his passing, I’m very glad I was able to know him and am going to remember the things about him that made me smile – and there is so much. I wish his family and fiancé strength in dealing with the loss of John. God Bless.

  13. I would like to send my condolences to the family of John. I worked with John for almost 13 years and we were good friends. I will always miss him. In his last days, I was able to communicate with him through email and text messages. He was such a good, generous and funny man. He gave life to the 29th floor here at CCN. He will never be forgotten. Dianita Young

  14. I was terribly saddened to learn of John’s passing. He was one of the most memorable people I’ve ever known, and I can’t think about him without smiling. Stopping by John’s office with a quick question often became an hour and a half visit with a lot of laughter, numerous “Caddyshack” and “Scarface” quotes, and the Zen wisdom of John’s old construction foreman in Chicago. John’s wit, humor and insight were so powerful it would have been easy to overlook how smart he was, but he was a very smart and very creative guy. I’ll always think of John as Mr. Fun, the guy who made every event better, and I, as many others, will miss him a lot.

  15. I would like the family to know how much I respected and admired John. I am a long time employee of the Department of Real Estate, and my position put me in contact with John on more than a few occasions. He was absolutely one of the most fun people I have ever been around. Very charismatic, very nice, and very smart – he will definitely be missed!

  16. To the wonderful Nicholson family, Mary and I want to send our sincere condolences for the loss of your brother John. John was always inspirational to me and encouraged me and my kids. He was kind and considerate. I loved Uncle John, JIM PORTER

  17. To John’s Family and Aneela. You have our sympathy for your loss and thank you for sharing the unique, highly talented and amazing personality that is John. He has been an important and colorful colleague, friend, leader and partner for over 33 years.Our firm’s history is so full of John’s accomplishments and humorous anecdotes that we will never forget him.

  18. I will miss you John. You are such a wonderful, kind, smart and funny man. You have influenced my life in such a good way for 28 years now. I hope to see you again in the next world.

  19. My condolences to you all. My father was a long time co-worker of John. He was always so kind to me when I would see him while visting the office or at social situations. I want to share with you he is missed by many.

  20. We have just learned of John’s passing today 1/4/12, and were very good friends and past neighbors in MDR Condos. We are deeply saddened and will miss him terribly. We received a note from him in November in response to a party we had invited him to….We would like to do something in his memory, and/ or attend a celebration of his life if a service is being held? Please contact us as soon as possible, so if a service is being held (we can attend) or if it has been held, we want to do something in his memory. With deepest sympathy, and much love for John… Felice and Bill Peardon 310) 968-4292 cell

  21. To Mary John, Michael, James, Steven, Todd, Marylinn, Diana and Lenny, Nick was one of a kind. He had such a great sense of humor, was a tough, determined lawyer, a loyal friend and despite all of his accomplishments never wanted to take himself seriously. I have so many great memories of time spent with him, both in Chicago and in Los Angeles. It is hard to put the words “mourning” and “laughing” in the same sentence but that’s how I feel. My condolences to you all. Dean Hansell

  22. I will miss the weekly phone calls that always started with the genuine “hey man, how are you”, before we had to move on to the work of the day…..always a fresh look at things…refeshing to work with!! God Bless

  23. My dearest memory of Uncle John was listening to the phonecalls he had with his mother when she would frantically call his busy office mid-day to relay disapproval over the decor of his condo. He would drop what he was doing, put her on speaker phone, and begin a hilarious banter back and forth. The love and respect, patience and gratitude he gave to his mom was exemplary of his loyalty to family and integrity as a man. Thank you Uncle John for all the laughs, the inspiration, your generosity, and the amazing example you set for us all. Thank you to Aneela, Marylinn, Christopher and all those who took care and brought comfort to him while he was ill. May God Bless you and comfort you in your own healing. Love and Peace to my Chicago family grieving this unexpected death of your dear brother and uncle. My deepest sympathy and regards to you all. Love, Suzy

  24. John your enthusiasm, an inspirational example of how to live, enjoy and experience life. You ate up every bit of it, and pulled it off with great dignity. I loved seeing you when I came to LA, lunch at the Ivy and massage at the Peninsular, a couple of drinks and still squeezed in lots of hard work. Other than my Mom, you were the only one that always called me Donny instead of Don. It made me feel like a cherished friend. You helped me with my business on many occasions especially when I was a start up. I could write a book filled with stories of the daring times I had with our adventurous hero. One of the few, very, few men I truly admire, look up to and emulate. My sincere condolence to Johnny’s family and friends. I will hold my glass high today, in tribute to an exceptional life. I’ll miss you Peter Pan.

  25. I extend my deepest sympathies to John’s loved ones. Saddened beyond words, I will remember him always with smiles and tears – how special he was and will remain. BJ Connery

  26. Ah, John, we all will miss you and that wonderful smile of yours! You were a warm-hearted friend to the family and we all have memories of you in the desert, or Big Bear or in your office. Somehow, events with you often started with, “Hi, my name is John”…Smiles or laughter were usually not far away after that intro. Our condolences to your family and the lady in your life.

  27. My heart is so heavy. You brought us such love, laughter and perspective throughout so many years in the desert community. You were truly one of the very best at all you embraced, including being a dear friend. We will miss you tremendously. Peace.

  28. Most amazing uncle, friend, mentor who I’ve ever met. I feel so lucky that he was in my life for so long. He touched SO MANY lives especially mine. I love you Uncle and will always remember everything you’ve done for me.

  29. I am so sad to learn of John’s death. I worked with John in the early 90’s on a couple of projects while I was at Wells Fargo Bank. Not only was John brilliant and a ball to be with, but he also managed to become a close friend to me and my wife. We spent a lot of time together in his office with the curtains drawn (and yelling into the hallway), playing golf, and scheming over dinner and a few drinks. I rarely stayed at a hotel as John would always host me at his home. John taught me the value of enjoying what I do and the importance of relationships. Never a day went by when he did not mention Mary John or Michael or speak fondly of his family. I am very sorry for your loss. I will miss him and keep you all in my prayers. Peace, Stuart

  30. It is always difficult to accept the passing of one who was so vibrant a personality. He will be missed by many in the private club industry. My sympathy to all his family and those who loved him.

  31. John was more than a dear, close friend. He was the “family member” that I could call in any crisis, or just to talk about wine. He was fun and interesting and knowledgeable about everything. And he was always there. Always. I guess I must have thought him invincible, because I was not prepared at all for this news. I can’t believe he’s gone…I expected him to come out on top, as he always did. I wish he had.

  32. John is charming the angels in heaven at this very moment. He seemed larger than life and its still difficult for me to conceive that he is gone. In his professional life, John had a way of pulling rabbits out of hats, making the clutch play, have exactly the right word, the right strategy to navigate the business waters with such ease and grace. As a personal friend, 10 years ago my husband (another Chicago/Northwestern guy) died very suddenly – and about a week later on Valentines Day – a small army of my nearest and dearest including John and his mother Mary John, picked me up and took me out for the evening, making sure I wasn’t alone on February 14th. He always made me laugh, I always gave him a hard time, and he was someone I was always able to count on. To his family, your loss must be immeasurable. To his fiance – I have traveled this road after a similar loss and I will keep you in my prayers. To John….as they say in Ireland…Slainte (Cheers)…you have gently risen, the world is a better place for your presence in it and you will always be remembered for that impish smile and big, beautiful heart.

  33. How do I summarize my memories of John. Our paths first crossed as teenagers when we both caddied at Bryn Mawr Country Club. John excelled at that vocation. He was awarded a Chick Evans caddy scholarship to the University of Illinois where we met up years later. He often joked that being a good lawyer and counsellor was not that different from caddying. This may also explain his lifelong love of the movie Caddy Shack. (I was also with John when we saw Scarface for the first time- a life-altering event.) I saw the very modest house and circumstances in which John grew up with his dear mother and 5 brothers and sister. We attended Northwestern University School of Law together. He was the only person I knew when I moved from Chicago to LA (I doubt I would have made the move otherwise.) He was with me at dinner when I met my future wife. He always claimed that he let me have the first crack at meeting her. The fact that she was taller than John and wanted to meet someone Jewish never interfered with his story of that momentous night. John and I spent a great deal of time together throughout the 80s and 90s. Much to my dismay, we saw each other less after I got married. I felt we were best friends, although I suspect many other people-justifiably- felt the same way. John,of course, always did everthing to the max: work, working out, going out and carousing, etc. He was unconventional in many ways, but extremely traditional in others (how else to explain the same law firm and same condo for 30 years. As others experienced, when you had a problem, John was likely the first person you called for advice. He relished his role and reputation as the helper, fixer, rescuer, confidant and, of course, friend. I will miss him deeply. He was a big part of my life for many years. My condolences to his mother, brothers and sister. I know John was the glue that held them together. Jeremy (“Jerry”) Miller

  34. How do I summarize my memories of John? Our paths first crossed as teenagers when we both caddied at Bryn Mawr Country Club. John excelled at that vocation. He was awarded a Chick Evans caddy scholarship to the University of Illinois where we met up years later. He often joked that being a good lawyer and counsellor was not that different from caddying. This may also explain his lifelong love of the movie Caddy Shack. (I was also with John when we saw Scarface for the first time- a life-altering event.) I saw the very modest house and circumstances in which John grew up with his dear mother and 5 brothers and sister. We attended Northwestern University School of Law together. He was the only person I knew when I moved from Chicago to LA (I doubt I would have made the move otherwise.) He was with me at dinner when I met my future wife. He always claimed that he let me have the first crack at meeting her. The fact that she was taller than John and wanted to meet someone Jewish never interfered with his story of that momentous night. John and I spent a great deal of time together throughout the 80s and 90s. Much to my dismay, we saw each other less after I got married. I felt we were best friends, although I suspect many other people-justifiably- felt the same way. John,of course, always did everthing to the max: work, working out, going out and carousing, etc. He was unconventional in many ways, but extremely traditional in others (how else to explain the same law firm and same condo for 30 years. As others experienced, when you had a problem, John was likely the first person you called for advice. He relished his role and reputation as the helper, fixer, rescuer, confidant and, of course, friend. I will miss him deeply. He was a big part of my life for many years. My condolences to his mother, brothers and sister. I know John was the glue that held them together. Jeremy (“Jerry”) Miller

  35. i am jamie nicholson, john’s one year younger brother. thank you for all the condolences. Words cannot express the vibrance of them. What can i say about john.We lived four to a bedroom on two bunks.The four oldest brothers. John was the “white sheep” of the family with his salt and pepper hair and his green piercing eyes, unlike the rest of us black haired dark eyed types lol. He was one tough character let me tell you. The only guy who could kick his butt was our oldest brother mike and mike was one tough guy. We grew up in a loved home by our grandparents, my grandfather, john’s namesake being the glue, the man who shaped us after our father died in 1957. God bless my mother she had a rough time but god provided for us, I never felt poor because i was rich in spirit from my family. God love John he was always preoccupied with something lol. I remember his face. John what is going on in that mind of yours i was always thinking. He had that faraway look like he was bound for something. Johnny my loving brother? My loved brother, i miss you so much. I will say more later

  36. Jamie, I moved from L.A. in 1999 and lost contact with John. For months now I have kept saying to myself I need to contact John and check up on him. Procrastination aside, today was the day I decided to do so, and with heavy heart I read the news of his passing. This is indeed tragic. John was an amazingly kind and generous soul. If you asked me to describe John, I would say “just look into his eyes, they are astonishing.” I say that as through his eyes, there was always a twinkle of humor, mischief, but mostly of incredible intelligence. I always marveled his smarts, not to mention his use and skills in writing. John also was exceptionally kind toward me and constantly gave me free legal advice for which I was very grateful. He also at one point loaned me $5,000 when I was facing bankruptcy after the 1992 recession. I settled some of this payment and his kindness over the years by giving him the David Hockney silkscreen titled “Celia with a green Hat” I paid about $36,000 in 1988 for it from Christies. The has to now be worth several hundred thousand dollars, so I trust it is still in good hands with your family. I was always very fond of your mom, Mary John who would make a point of saying hello to me on each of her visits to John. I have also good memories of meeting you, Michael and Todd on visits to L.A. Please convey my heartfelt condolences to all of your family. John certainly made a positive difference to our world and for that we should be grateful. I would specifically like to send Mary John a personal note and if you could give me her contact information, I would be grateful. I can be contacted at lucien@desertwolff.com I send to you and all of your family my very best. Lucien Wolff

  37. This is Jamie, John’s brother again. I had lost touch with this obit and have reread each condolence. Thank you again. I will always miss John and I walk with him in my heart every day. My email is jamesleonard2011@hotmail.com for anyone who needs to contact me. Love, Jamie

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