Ad Astra – Edwin “Nick” Nixon ’50

Nick Nixon - 2008 photo by John Lok/Seattle Times
Nick Nixon – 2008 photo by John Lok/Seattle Times

Nick’s first obituary was published in 1953 in the Seattle Times: “Edwin Allen Nixon Jr. was reported killed in action when enemy anti-aircraft fire struck his F9F Panther fighter jet during offensive operations against North Korea in March of 1953. The Seattle Times reported “Seattle Pilot dies in Korea, Red Fire Kills Man Who Had All To Live For! A Navy jet pilot, Ensign Edwin A. Nixon Jr. of Seattle who had every reason to live, was killed in action Sunday in Korea. Ensign Nixon, son of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin A. Nixon, 3701 East Marion St., was born in Seattle and planned to be physician and surgeon like his dad. Last August 30th, he married the girl next door, Marianne Davis, of 826-37th Ave. They had attended Garfield High School and the University Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and received his Bachelord of Arts degree from the University in 1950. In 1950 he enlisted in the Naval Air Reserve and trained at Pensacola, Florida, Corpus Christi, Texas and Alameda, California. Last December 15, Ensign Nixon went overseas, assigned to the aircraft carrier Philippine Sea, and was in combat from January until he died. On March 8, 1953, memorial services for the flyer were held in the Church of the Epiphany”.

Six months after the printing of this obituary and during the birth of his first child, it was learned that Nick, previously reported killed in action, had survived the crash landing and had been one of the first prisoners to be repatriated after the armistice. Upon his return home Nick was decorated with the Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.

Nick’s second chance at life was a good thing, especially for sons Brian and Tim who were born in the first four years after his return. Following a short stint in real estate he entered the Life Insurance business as an agent and then manager for Manufacturers Life Insurance Co. where he spent much of his career. Dad loved skiing and golf in his youth and bowling and Judo at the WAC. Over the years he participated on committees at the Washington Athletic Club and held several offices in the local Phi Gamma Delta organization including president of alumni and secretary/treasure of the building corp. He took much pride and was involved in the fraternity throughout most of his life. Dad’s health problems continued to plague him in later years, many of which were directly related to the injuries received during military service.

Nick chronicled his life, primarily his experience in the Navy and Korean War in the book DEAD WRONG. Although written primarily for his family, many people enjoyed reading his life’s story. He received many accolades, did book signings, and was featured on the TV program Evening Tonight celebrating Veteran’s Day. Dad left us for the second and final time on the 18th of November while under the capable, compassionate care of the American Lake Veterans Administration facility at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He joins his wife, our mother, Marianne who preceded him in death in May of this year. Nick will be remembered as a patriot, conducting himself with courage and honor while fighting for his country. He will also be remembered as a conservative, resolute in his convictions and a proud and grumpy member of the Republican Party. But most of all he will be remembered as a good husband, father, grandfather and respected friend. Honoring his wishes, a second memorial will not be held. Nick will be buried with his wife, Marianne at a gathering of family and friends. He is survived by his children, Leslie Ann Engen, Brian and Tim Nixon, daughters-in-law Jeneen and Bobbi Nixon, and grandchildren Matthew and Bryce Engen, Ericka Winston, Thatcher and Maddie Nixon and ex son-in-law Mark Engen DVM.

Remembrances may be sent to Wounded Warriers, one of several worthy charities honoring our Veteran’s brave and selfless service to our Country.

Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 22, 2013
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As noted in his obituary, Nick wrote a book titled “Killed in Action – Dead……Wrong”, and the Seattle Times published an article about Nick and his book that can be read at this link: