Good Friend Gone

Written by (Uncle) Dave Engel, Director Emeritus

James C. Nuhlicek, fellow traveler since ’59, died Thursday, Sept. 14, from the effects of a brain tumor.

Rapids residents of a certain age will remember “Nuhly” as a Coke-bottle glassed, Maynard G. Krebs-inspired, “tennie”-shod, heartbreaker—found Friday nights at the Rapids theater and, in college years, at Buzz’s and the Brig. Jim was a minor celebrity because his father, Joe, operated the Chatterbox snack shack on West Grand Avenue. To our amusement, his mother, Gatha, gave him a good-night peck even when he came home late and redolent of wickedness.

Jim and I, both English majors, roomed together at Point college. After graduation, Jim joined me at Western Illinois University, where I taught English and he reeled in an M.A., retiring in 2012 as a distinguished English professor at State University of New York-Cobleskill, where he developed a specialty in Eastern Philosophy. Along the way, he lived with gentle compassion and prickly humor. He said he wasn’t afraid to die, that his main concern was for those left behind.

See the upcoming February Artifacts for more about Jim.

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2 Responses to Good Friend Gone

  1. Susan Spivack says:

    Thank you for this lovely remembrance of Jim. My husband and I are close friends of his in Cobleskill, and it’s good see him in his young days as “Nuhly”…”a Coke-bottle glassed, Maynard G. Krebs-inspired, “tennie”-shod, heartbreaker” Of course those tennis shoes were a defining style item all his years–more and more wondrously colored I suspect with every passing year. I’ve been thinking of getting myself a pair of shocking pink or chartreuse sneakers to wear every so often and declare that day a Jim remembrance day.

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