James William Nicolay, 78, civil engineer, marksman

July 28, 2005

James William Nicolay, a retired civil engineer and expert marksman, died of Parkinson's disease Tuesday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The longtime Woodlawn resident was 78.

Mr. Nicolay was born in Baltimore and raised in Walbrook. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1945, he enlisted in the Navy and served aboard a minesweeper in the Pacific during the waning days of World War II. He was a seaman first class at the time of his discharge in 1946.

He earned a degree in civil engineering in 1950 from the University of Maryland, College Park and began his career as a draftsman with Sandlass and Wieman, an engineering company.

Mr. Nicolay was working as a junior engineer with the Baltimore County public works department when he joined the Baltimore engineering firm of Van Rensselaer P. Saxe in 1957. In 1975, he took a job as a capital projects engineer with the Maryland Department of General Services. He retired in 1995.

"He was an expert in structural engineering and did a lot of work building and renovating schools," said his brother, Robert E. Nicolay of Finksburg.

A licensed professional engineer in Maryland, Mr. Nicolay was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

From 1960 until 1975, Mr. Nicolay held leadership positions with Boy Scout Troop 800.

Mr. Nicolay was an active member of the Poly Alumni Association and had been a member for 18 years of the Monumental Rifle and Pistol Club. He was also an avid reader and history buff.

He was a communicant of St. Mary's Episcopal Church, 5610 Dogwood Road, Woodlawn, where services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Joan Fine; a son, Barry S. Nicolay of Sykesville; three daughters, Jeanne Nicolay Hofmann of Towson, Donna J. Nicolay of Catonsville and Kathleen Nicolay Grego of Arbutus; and nine grandchildren.

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