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Paul A. Nicholas ( Missoula 1942 )

posted: Dec 30, 2019

Paul, 98, died October 5, 2019. He was the oldest living smokejumper at that time. Paul started his collegiate studies at Fort Hays in Kansas and transferred to Montana State University in Missoula where he earned a basketball scholarship and studied Forestry.

He entered the Air Force in 1942 and was commissioned as a pilot. Paul was a veteran of WWII and Korea and flew with the Air Rescue Service. He retired as a Major in 1964 after 20 years of service during which time he completed in bachelor’s degree under Project Bootstrap.

Paul continued his work in the aviation field at several USAF Bases and retired from Civil Service in 1983. From his son Michael—“He loved being a smokejumper. It was a special time in his life and I believe it formed his future careers in the Air Force.”