NICKELL, Harlan Dee
August 24, 1959 – October 5, 2015
Harlan Dee Nickell passed away peacefully on October 5, 2015 at Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary.
Dee was born on August 24, 1959 in Milden, Saskatchewan. The Nickell family moved to Cranbrook in 1966 and Dee became a fast friend to many. In his youth he enjoyed minor hockey and baseball, but his biggest thrill was helping his Dad to make ice at the old curling rink (now Kinsmen Arena) late at night and was proud to curl in the men’s league as a boy. He loved curling and all the camaraderie that went with it and met many dear friends. Dee hired on with CP Railway in 1977 but when it was discovered that he was only 18 he was let go and told to return in a few months, once he turned 19. He did just that, and after two years of being a brakeman, signed up for the Locomotive Engineers Training Program in Vancouver. At the time he held the distinction of being the youngest engineman in BC. He returned to Cranbrook in the early 80’s and drove dump truck for his Dad on his days off with CPR. He stepped away from his railway career in 1986 to work permanently alongside his Dad, who had a John Deere 450 cat and a dump truck. Father and son worked together nurturing and growing Nickell Excavating Ltd. and were known for their integrity, efficient work ethic and skilled knowledge. Dee had a gentle touch when operating his excavator that others envied. “Everyone stops what they’re doing and watches the big yellow machine do all the work” would be said in frustration at the end of a work day, but really his work was being admired. Although a prairie boy at heart, he had a deep love for the mountains.
Dee is sorely missed and survived by his loving wife of 33 years, Susan Hinds, his son Robert, daughter Ellen, brother Ron (Kathy) and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts & uncles. Dee was predeceased by his Dad & Mom, Vern & Joy Nickell, his sister Sue & her husband Geoff Blair. Dee was a kind-hearted man, loving husband and proud father. He will be incredibly missed by all who knew him.
Family and friends are cordially invited to a celebration of Dee’s life on Saturday, October 17th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the Cranbrook Curling Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BC Heart & Stroke Foundation.