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Jim "Tiger" Nicholson

January 11, 1947 - August 17, 2017


A Celebration of his life will be held 3:00 pm, Thursday September 14th at Illahe Country Club, 3376 Country Club Dr. S., Salem, OR.  Memorial donations in Tiger's name may be directed to Willamette Humane Society 4246 Turner Road SE., Salem, Oregon 97317.

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So sorry to hear of Mr Nicholson's passing as many others I was very fortunate to be a student of his at Judson and at Sprague High School. I also played football and was fortunate to have him as a coach. But the thing I will remember most he and I had a running joke for 3 or 4 years over a song by Dire Straits can we would repeat lyrics to each other whenever we see each other he ended up calling me Guitar George from one of the characters in the song. Years later when I was visiting Salem I ran into him in the first words out of his mouth was hey guitar and George good to see you and I'll always remember him as just being very kind and motivating and just really one of the true role models that we had there at Sprague high school and in Salem thank you very much craignelson class of 82 currently living in Edmonds Washington



Jim Nicholson.  Memories flood my mind.  The thing I remember most is his true love for Susan and adoration for his daughter, Erin.  One of the nicest people I've ever met.  So glad that I got to know him.  



Mr. Nick, Thank you for everything. I'm so happy you're reunited with Sue.



I was a freshman in 1979.  Freshmen were assigned to their classes.  You could not choose a specific teacher and class period.  

I was assigned to Mr. Nicholson's history class for the Spring semester.  But, he stepped up to be an interim Vice Principal.  So, I missed out.  I was not happy because I heard many great things about Mr. Nicholson.

South Salem was supposed to be the best academic high school in Salem.  I'd put Sprague's history and English teachers up against all schools.  Mr. Nicholson was part of a great group of history teachers.  

John Lessar
Redwood City, CA



My condolences to Coach Jim's family.  I never had him as a teacher, and I was already an upper classman at Sprague when he came in with the Freshman (Fall 1978), but I did have him coach me in football.  He struck me even then as positive motivator for young people...and it was obvious that anyone who ever knew him at Judson still considered him a friend.  His influence over the Sprague student body was deeply felt.  Thanks Coach Jim.



So sad to hear of Mr. Nicholson's passing.  Truly a great teacher and a genuinely kind man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Becky Hannon
Class of 89.



Nick was the best teacher I had - while he was a PE teacher at Judson!  He introduced us to Soccer (pretty revolutionary for 1978), and Team Handball.  I just wanted to play Basketball, but he was adamant about learning new sports and APPRECIATING them.  It's NOT true that those who can't teach, teach PE. I learned a lot about having an open mind to trying new things, and the importance of being on a team.



Mr. Nicholson is one of the reasons that I went into education, including teaching AP US History, no less.  Coming into his class with Led Zeppelin or some other music made me feel like it was a different kind of place, one where not only learning, but fun was to be expected. I remember actually being angry when we were just going to work on vocab one day, because I enjoyed hearing his lectures and lessons so much.  As I moved towards being an educator I went back and visited him, and he was always welcoming.  An inspiration to many with his caring, his wit, and his kindness to students.  As a teacher I wanted to emulate those same characteristics.  



Dear Erin, Your dad was an amazing man.  We taught together for several years at both Judson and Sprague (along with occasional poker games). He was a master teacher and truly genuine person and a friend to all. One of my my happiest (and funniest) memories of Jim was when he and your mom and my wife and I went to see  " Blazing Saddles".  We almost were asked to leave the theater because we laughed so hard.  (So much for sophisticated humor.) The best tribute I can pay to your dad is that whenever I think of Jim, I smile!  Peace.

Bob Lee



Mr. Nick,
I'll miss you...the wry grin, the quiet jokes, the chest hair escaping from the pink v-neck sweater. Most of all, I think I'll miss the quiet one-on-one conversations about life. I was certainly a school-focused and very young student in your class, and you helped show me that there was a lot more out there that I should be focused on. Thank you.
David (Auerbach) Colwyn, Sprague '00.