Richard D. Nikolaev passed away on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in  Gilbert, Ariz.

Born in Moscow during the war on Aug. 24, 1938, he was shipped to the Ural Mountains with all the other kids before the Nazi's were stopped at Stalingrad. He told the story of this memory of traveling on a cargo ship as a refugee through the Black Sea, through the Suez Canal, with long stops along the way to New York. His mom was a Russian American who had married a Russian professor, Nik's dad was purged by Stalin and sent to Siberia, never to be seen or heard from again.

He grew up in NYC, his mom worked for the UN as a translator and lived in Brooklyn. They returned to Denver, which is where he mostly grew up and joined the Marines at 17. After the Marines, he married Sandy and became a traveling salesman for a surgical supply company.

Nik subsequently moved to Warsaw and worked for Depuy Mfg. for many years and then became, over time, the CEO of three different orthopedic device manufacturing companies, the orthopedic industry was his passion.

He and Sandy were married nearly 60 years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by daughter, Kimberly Nikolaev (Thomas Bollinger); and son, Cort (Rebecca), all residents of Arizona.

Joined in Heaven with family that has gone before, mother, Nettie Mystkowski; stepfather, Alex Mystkowski; cousins Jay Hulitzky, Wayne Hulitzky and Sandy Kennedy; and grandmother, Dorothy Burak.

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Memorials to Hospice of the Valley https://www.hov.org/donate/donate-now/ or your favorite charity.