Richard ‘Gus’ Nickerson

May 26, 1935 – April 20, 2021
After a valiant 12-year battle with cancer, Richard ‘Gus’ passed away peacefully at home, with his devoted soul mate and caregiver, Valerie, and family by his side. Born in Prince Rupert, BC in 1935, he is predeceased by his parents, sisters, and long-term drinking buddies.
He is survived by his wife Valerie; his children Brad (Julia), Colin (Leah), Kerry (Wayne) and Kent; stepdaughters Helena (Martin) and Martina (Andrew); grandchildren George, Peter, Sean (Lisa), Geoffrey, Lindsey, Sarah, Shelby (Derek), Tristan, Dallas, and Allegra; great-grandchildren Kaiser and Lynden.
He courageously endured many medical treatments not only to enable himself to continue to experience the joys of life, but also to hopefully find a cure or treatment for others experiencing the same health issue.
True to his spirit he wanted to be a pioneer and, to that end, participated in several clinical cancer trials.
Raised in an isolated community, he forged an active life for himself that he enjoyed to the fullest. He raised his family to think big, pay attention to current events, and try to further their education. Ignorance was a sin.
A voracious newsreader all his life, Sunday mornings included a stack of papers to go with a double-header of NCAA basketball. He was a basketball fanatic and would be glued to a television when NBA or March Madness games were playing. He constantly cheered on his favorite college team, “The Duke Blue Devils”.
An avid player himself, he was a regular point contributor for the Prince Rupert Arnold & Quigley team, having been occasionally recognized as an all-star player with a killer set-shot from 15 feet. You weren’t allowed to miss free throws because “they’re FREE!”.
He was an aggressive racquetball player and enjoyed a game of golf. His music interests revolved around many oldies-but-goodies like “Frank Sinatra”, “Nat King Cole”, “The Bee Gees”, “The Mamas and the Papas” and let us not forget “The Eagles”. He never got tired of watching old movies and British “who dun it” shows. His favorite movie was “Stand By Me” which Val and he watched over and over, as he firmly believed “one will never have friends in life like the ones you made when you were 12”.
He had his first drink in a bar…at age 14, only wore slip-on shoes, stressed “free is the best price”, single-handedly kept Lucky Lager in business during their lean years (1965-1998), and was one of the first people to discover “by accident” that, in 1957, Seymour Street had changed to a one-way. He went to Waikiki over 80 times. He went to Maui once. “Don’t mess with success.”
In the 1970’s his children began calling him “Eugene Velour” for his love of that particular fabric. And let’s not get into the “leisure suit” era of his life, along with his love for Corduroy shorts. It’s still a bit painful for those who witnessed it.
He was proud of where he came from, kept an eye on where he was going, but wanted to enjoy the day’s sunset with the one he loved. Well known for his sense of humor and insidious laugh, he was always the life of the party.
He lived longer than most expected. It shows what the power of laughter, a willing spirit, and a couple dozen free ones from Labatt’s (weekly) can do. It’s your life. Live it as best you can. He did.
Val and the family wish to give a special thank you to Dr. Kim Chi and his excellent supportive BC Cancer Agency team, Dr. Agnes Lee and his general physician Dr. Ali Quasabash for their dedication to his medical care. Also, a special thank you to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island Community Nursing Team.
To Val, he was her knight in shining armour. The first day they met in Hawaii she and he knew they were destined to be lifetime partners.
Following a whirlwind romance, they married and had an incredibly happy partnership for 33 years. Val always said “He taught me how to laugh, take each day as it comes and just enjoy life. What more could you ask for from your partner.”
In remembrance:
What do you say to a man who so often showed you love expecting no reward, looked to protect you even at his expense, showered you with praise without reciprocal expectations, and accepted you for who you are. You say thank you for knowing us, loving us and just being you.
Richard will be interred at Cedar Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery on May 4, 2021. Due to current COVID restrictions the graveside service will be limited to pre-invited family and friends. Flowers are gratefully declined. Those who wish to do so are invited to donate on Richard’s tribute page on the B.C. Cancer Foundation website (

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