John W. Nitkey Businessman & WWII Veteran
At the age of 91 on March 15, 2012, surrounded with the love and care of his family, John peacefully passed away. He was born in Wallace, ID in 1921 and raised on a farm in Harrison, ID. His family lived in a log cabin his father built from trees felled on the farm. John graduated Gonzaga University with a degree in Business and Accounting. It was in Spokane where John met the love of his life, Frances Fagan, a nursing student from Sacred Heart (Spokane). After John’s graduation he and Frances were married and shortly thereafter in 1943 he shipped off to Army Basic Training in service to his country. He qualified as a Marksman with the M-1 rifle and received the American Theater Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal and European African Middle Eastern Service Medal. After WWII ended, John was stationed at Fort Lewis. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946. He and his young bride then decided to make their home on Alki Avenue in West Seattle.
After being honorably discharged from the Army, John began work for a nationally recognized accounting firm, but soon opened his own Accounting office in White Center above the Roller Rink. It was through that business that he a met his lifelong friend, mentor and fellow Holy Family (Seattle) parishioner, AJ, a real estate developer. John first did accounting work for AJ and then entered the building business himself. A recent card from AJ touched on their 60 year long and devoted, deep friendship for each other by stating “the teacher learned from the student.”
John built the 48 unit Mercer Manor and Mercer Tower apartments on Mercer Island, the 54 unit Riverside West apartments in South Seattle, the 52 unit Somerset West apartments in Burien, the 33 unit Admiral Triplexes in West Seattle and the 33 unit Northgate and Linden Triplexes in North Seattle; a scattering of hundreds of houses and triplex homes throughout West Seattle and the north and south ends of Seattle. Cards and letters would routinely arrive from his Tenants thanking him for being such a wonderful, considerate and caring Landlord. John was a compassionate man and cared enormously about people, he always treated them with respect. He gave selflessly of his time, talent and treasure to his church, his Alma Mater Gonzaga University and many, many other charities.
But more than a builder, his strong and unwavering faith carried him through the good times as well as difficult times that life would present. More than a builder of homes and apartments, he was a builder of family. John leaves behind a dedicated loving family and a tirelessly devoted and loyal wife of 68 1/2 years, Frances Fagan Nitkey; his six children, Dan Nitkey, Joan Kocharhook (Steve), Susan Griffin, Frances Kahler (Rick), Kathy Hostenske and Larry Nitkey (Carla); his 16 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild; and many nieces and nephews. John was preceded in death by his mother and father, Mary Louise Champagne Nitkey and Andrew L. Nitkey, and his sisters, Mary Etta Parrott (Don) and Evelyn Nitkey.
A Rosary and Funeral Mass were held March 20, 2012 at Our Lady of Guadalupe. Interment and burial at Holyrood in Shoreline followed a reception celebrating John’s life with us.
The Nitkey family would like to thank Providence Mount St. Vincent for the loving care they provided our father and ALL of our supportive friends and family for their kind words, thoughts and prayers. Remembrances can be made to Providence Mount St. Vincent (The Mount) and Our Lady of Guadalupe.