Enterprise, AL- Peter C. Nicholson, 62, of Enterprise, AL and formerly of Potsdam, NY, took his final flight home on April 28, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Linda (Jackson), a son, Jeremiah (Amanda) and a beautiful granddaughter, Kaitlynn, all of Enterprise.
He also leaves behind four loving sisters: Ann McGowan, Potsdam, NY; Janet Nicholson, Syracuse, NY; Susan Regan, Potsdam, NY; and Nancy Nicholson, Ogdensburg, NY; four special cousins: David Nelson, Diane Hayes and Chris Caringi, all of Parishville, NY and Tony Zappia, Massena, NY, and several other cousins, nieces, nephews, and friends.
He was predeceased by his father, Robert, in 1992, his mother, Caroline, in 1995, and his son, Jonathan in 1974.
Pete was born June 6, 1950 in Potsdam, to Robert Gaylord and Caroline Janet Nelson Nicholson. Throughout his childhood he was active in sports and outdoor activities and graduated from Potsdam High School in 1968.
He attended Canton ATC before enlisting in the United States Army in 1970. He completed his basic training at Ft. Polk, LA and the Officer Rotary Wing Aviator Course and Aviation Warrant Officer Advanced Course at the US Army Aviation Center in Ft. Rucker, AL. He finished preliminary training at the US Army Primary Helicopter School in Ft. Wolters, TX.
He served his country as an Army helicopter pilot and flight instructor and completed two tours of combat duty in Vietnam. Throughout his more than 23 years in military service, he was primarily stationed in Germany, Ft. Rucker, AL and Ft. Drum, NY.
He was a proud and decorated soldier and trained countless others on all aspects of military aircraft. When he retired from the Army, he held the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4.
After his military service, Pete worked at the Army Aviation Test Center as a Maintenance Test Pilot and Instructor Pilot in the AH-1 and AH-64 Apache A and D model. In 1997, he joined his friend and military compatriot, Mark Metzger, at the Boeing Company as an Instructor Pilot.
Following completion of training at the National Test Pilot School in Mojave, CA and an intense in house training program at Boeing, he was promoted to Engineering Test Pilot. Pete worked as an Instructor and Engineering Test Pilot until 2011 when he retired from Boeing and returned to Alabama.
During his stay at Boeing, Pete was instrumental in developing many of the aircraft survivability equipment found on aircraft today as well as advanced sights and sensors, digital communications improvements, weapons architecture, and performance enhancements.
Pete was very active with the development of the Rolls Royce powered British Version of the AH-64 (the WAH-1) and spent well over a year in the UK working the final development, training new pilots and finalizing the development of the simulator.
Among the many places he traveled with Boeing were England, Malaysia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Kuwait, and Egypt.
In addition to his passion for his country and for flying, Pete enjoyed spending time with friends, family, and especially cherished his time with his granddaughter Kaitlynn. His hobbies included photography, golf, and outdoor activities. He was known to those who loved him as a kind, gentle, and compassionate man.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 17 at 3 pm at Trinity Episcopal Church in Potsdam with a reception to follow in the church hall. Online memories and condolences may be shared at www.facebook.com/PeteNicholsonMemoriesAndPictures.