Nicholas Allen Page died February 5, 2016 at Our Lady of Peace after living with frontotemporal dementia for several years. Nick enjoyed reminding people that he had a Nick name. When asked how he was (in the early stages of the disease), he’d reply, “Not bad for a demented guy.” Typical of his humor. He loved people, cats, music, trains, cars, and walking.
Born in Indianapolis on Oct 30 1942 to Dr. Irvine Heinly and Beatrice Allen Page, the family moved to Cleveland when he was two. The family spent summers on Cape Cod in Hyannis Port, where his brother learned to sail and Nick was ballast. He loved to go to the rail yard and greet the engineers who would let him ride in the cabs, classic of his lifelong love (obsession) of trains. Ultimately he achieved his dream of building his home along the railroad track, in Faber, VA, with the assistance of an architect with the last name Train.
He graduated from Wake Forest University, then served in the army in Vietnam. Upon return he became a stockbroker in Cleveland, then went to Chicago Theological Seminary for his MDiv, where he met the woman who became his lifelong best friend and wife, Arlene. The couple moved to Berkeley CA, where Arlene got her MDiv at Pacific School of Religion and Nick got a certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse studies. He worked in several programs in the Bay Area. Their daughter Emily was born there, and immediately captured her daddy’s heart. Eventually the presence of earthquakes, droughts and fires, and the lack of seasons and lightning bugs led them to move east, finding Charlottesville the perfect place. Little did he know he was returning to ancestral territory.
At age 40, Nick decided he wanted to do what he really wanted to do, and he became a professional jazz musician, playing saxophones and clarinet. His band The Red Hot Smoothies provided music for many happy occasions around the Charlottesville area. His quick wit and love of performance made him the perfect band leader.
For ten years he was a DJ on WTJU, sharing music he loved with his listeners on “Nick at Nine” – “Monday morning jazz to make you feel good.” He also cohosted a monthly “New Month, New Music” show with fellow DJs. His warm personality radiated through the airwaves as he shared his love of music, both good and intentionally bad.
His concern with social justice led him to work for integration at Wake Forest and to protest the war upon his return from Vietnam. He also got a VW bus and grew a beard and long hair. His wife was just grateful he didn’t wear his combat boots to the wedding.
Nick relished the absurd, and loved a good dirty joke or a bad pun. One of his favorite games to play with his daughter was the musical ear worm: who can put the worst song in who’s head. He loved to dance around the kitchen with his cats and daughter, and run to the window to wave at the trains. (Yes, many dinner guests were persuaded to do so too.) But most of all he loved time spent with friends. Even as his disease took much of his ability to communicate full sentences, he could sing the lyrics to most songs with his visitors, and readily gave hugs and kisses.
In his declining years, he was blessed with visits by friends from across the country. Clearly the close friendships he had forged all his life have meant as much to his friends as they did to him. He made people know they are special.
Nick is survived by his wife Arlene Page, his daughter Emily Page and her husband Sebastian Page; his brother Christopher Page and his wife Carole; sister-in-law Laurel Wilson; and nieces, nephews, and cousins. Nick’s family would like to thank his caregivers from The Christopher Center and Hospice of the Piedmont, Dr. Carol Manning, and the staff at Bodo’s who all worked to make his final years enjoyable.
Memorial celebration will be arranged and announced soon.
Contributions may be made to Hospice of the Piedmont (www.hopva.org), WTJU (www.wtju.net), your local school music program, or the charity of your choice.
Here’s a link to the obituary that was posted in The Daily Progress today: Nick Page’s Obituary