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Pete Nickolas, 95, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family at his Kaysville, Utah, home on Jan. 1, 2021.

Pete was a decorated World War II Army veteran who spent many additional years serving in the Air Force reserves. He was born on Oct. 4, 1925, in Rock Springs, Wyoming, to his parents, Louis and Diamanta Xirakis Nickolas. Raised with his two brothers and sister in humble circumstances, Pete was the son of a coal miner, who was forced into early retirement following a tragic mining accident that blinded his father. His mother supported the family doing odd jobs to help local coal miners, including laundry services. Pete adored his mother.

When he was just 18, he decided to join the Army and enlisted at Fort Warren in Wyoming. He served in Europe and fought in several prominent battles, including the Battle of the Bulge. He earned a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and served until the war ended in 1945. He was also later awarded a US Air Force Commendation.

After returning home, Pete moved to California and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in computer science at the University of California at Berkeley. While working his way through school at a movie theater in Oakland, he met and fell for Dorothy Lazzo, whom he married in 1955.

Pete and Dorothy eventually chose to settle in Livermore, where Pete enjoyed a lengthy career at Livermore Lawrence Laboratory as a computer scientist. He worked there for 30 years and retired in 1984.

When he wasn’t working, Pete had a voracious appetite for reading and learning. Some of his favorite books were about the Civil War, World War II, and other historical events. He educated himself about numerous subjects and applied his learning throughout his life.

Pete was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy; siblings, Spiro Nickolas, Clara (Ligeros), and Harry Nickolas; and his nephew, George. He is survived by his step-children, Carole Cole and Joel Osborne; and niece, Dea Ligeros Worthen of New Mexico. Lori Kunz, Matthew (Julia) Cole, Martin Cole, Julie Hansen, Jody (Wendy) Osborne, and Roxanne Tidwell also affectionately called him “Grandpa.” Pete and Dorothy were also godparents to Elpiniki Mavredaki of Chania, Crete, Greece.

With the current conditions surrounding the pandemic, a memorial service will be held online, at a time to be announced. Pete will be interred next to his wife, Dorothy, at the Memory Gardens Cemetery in Livermore.