John was born on May 21, 1931, in New Haven Connecticut to Mike and Mary Nikolauk. He passed away on July 25, 2018, at the age of 87 after a truly amazing life.

Funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2018 at First Baptist Church of Eldorado. Burial will follow at Eldorado Cemetery.

He is survived by his wife Juanita Ebbagene (Rusty) Nikolauk of 63 years and his sons Mike and wife Wendi, Bill and wife Debbie, Brett and wife Jess all of San Angelo. He is also survived by grandchildren John Arly Nikolauk and wife Cathy, Kaitlyn Nikolauk, Mark Nikolauk, Garrison Nikolauk, Riley Nikolauk and 4 great grandchildren Emily, Lizzy, Gabe and Lexi Nikolauk.

He was preceded in death by his parents, son Mark Nikolauk, and granddaughter Brianna Nikolauk.

As a member of the United States Air Force from 1951–1982, John served over 30 years in a wide-range of positions from enlisted mechanic to that of base commander. Although his military experiences were absolutely amazing and historic, he always shared the he was constantly in awe of all the people he was lucky enough to work with and get to know worldwide in his extended military family.

Some of the highlights of his military career include his early years as Instructor, USAF Instrument Pilot Instructor School, where he taught fundamentals of instruction and instrument flying techniques to USAF instructor pilots.

While serving at Rhein-Main AFB, Germany, he was the Chief Pilot, Medical Evacuation and Special Missions Squadron in Europe, flying medical evacuation flights throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, to include flights behind the Iron Curtain. He transported and arranged protocol requirements for the President and Chancellor of West Germany. John was also assigned as pilot / attache to the U.S. Secretary of War. On one of their diplomatic missions he and the Secretary flew through the Kyber Pass in Afghanistan where Afghani fighter jets scrambled to intercept him.

As Chief Pilot, Andrews AFB, Washington DC, he was the flight examiner/instructor/functional test officer qualified in 6 different aircraft. He planned and arranged transportation and protocol requirements for numerous VIPs from the Pentagon, Congress, and the White House, as well as many foreign dignitaries. While at Andrews he was asked if he wanted to fly Air Force 1, and of course he jumped at the chance. On another flight, Ted Kennedy was his passenger when they received the news of JFK’s assassination.

As Chief Pilot, MacDill AFB, Florida, a joint U.S. Command (STRIKE), he was responsible for planning and coordinating the global transportation requirements of a four-star general officer, at the CINC level, and his staff. He had the privilege to pilot for General Benjamin O. Davis of Tuskegee Airmen fame.

As Chief, T-39 Flight Operations, Saigon, Vietnam, he commanded a unit composed of 11 T-39s and 25 pilots. He flew combat support missions throughout Southwest Asia and transported courier cargo consisting of vital intelligence data and many high-ranking dignitaries to include the ambassador/vice-presidential level. Nikolauk was chosen by General Leroy Manor and Col “Bull” Simmons to pilot for Operation Ivory Coast-Son Tay Raid, a task force to liberate POWs.

As Chief Operations, HQ USAF Security Service, Kelly AFB, Texas, he planned, managed, and flew aircraft missions throughout the United States and overseas managing a 50-man flying organization. During his tenure, he achieved an aircraft in-commission rate of over 95 percent. No missions were canceled due to maintenance in over four years.

Goodfellow AFB was truly John’s military home. During his career he served as Deputy Commander and Commander, USAF Technical Training School, Goodfellow AFB, Texas. He directed and managed the USAF Technical Training School at Goodfellow and the operations of two squadrons and six operations locations geographically separated from Goodfellow. He was responsible for development, conduct, support, and evaluation of more than 100 technical training courses, a staff and faculty of 600 Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps military and civilian personnel, and on-board student strength of 1200. He operated a training facility of 200,000 square feet that housed over $10 million of electronic training equipment with an annual budget of $2.2 million. He negotiated support agreements for subordinate units located at CONUS and overseas Army, Navy, and Air Force bases.

He represented Air Force Training needs at joint service and national-level conferences to establish policy for cryptologic training management, operations, and personnel utilization.

As Commander, Goodfellow AFB, Texas, then Lieutenant Colonel Nikolauk exercised military command and court martial authority for more than 3600 assigned personnel. He managed the 1100-acre base and real property facilities to support the primary training mission.

While at Goodfellow, he and then Congressman Tom Loeffler were instrumental in keeping Goodfellow AFB off the base closure list. Colonel Nick was also the last person to land and take off in an airplane from Goodfellow AFB.

Nikolauk received many awards for his military service including the Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, AF Outstanding Unit Award with three bronze oakleaf clusters, Combat Readiness Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with one bronze oakleaf cluster, Vietnam Service Medal, AF Longevity Service Award Ribbon with one silver oak leaf cluster & one bronze oakleaf cluster, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Meritorious Service Medal.

During his years on Goodfellow AFB he also proudly served as a member of the Board of Directors for Goodfellow Community Federal Credit Union which is now 1st Community Federal Credit Union.

He continued his government service after military retirement as a defense contractor developing computerized training modules for the intelligence school.

After his military retirement John was the owner of the successful Colonel’s Pipe Shop in San Angelo where he spent many hours with his “cigar aficionado” friends.John was also heavily involved in the family-owned enterprises involving ranching, farming and residential rental properties.During recent years he served as a land agent and again he truly enjoyed all the people he had the opportunity to engage with.

From 1982 to present he was an active member of the Government of the City of Eldorado and Schleicher County Independent School District, Texas serving as a city councilman and as a member of the school board of directors. He was elected Mayor of the City of Eldorado, proudly serving over three decades and was still serving at his death.

Randy Mankin shared that John Nikolauk was more than a mayor, he was a friend to the citizens of Eldorado who elected him time and again to represent them over three decades. He took the job very seriously and worked diligently on behalf of the City of Eldorado and its residents. Some of John’s proudest accomplishments as Mayor were not flashy or eye-catching, but were all essential to the long-term success of the community: the city landfill, wastewater treatment plant, water distribution system and natural gas system which don’t attract a lot of attention, but they are vital to the well- being of a town.John commented that people will always complain about the streets, and especially potholes, but those complaints fade away when compared to the absolute necessity of a reliable source of clean and fresh water. John also spearheaded the effort to convert the old Schleicher County Medical Center in to a home for the Senior Meals program that was desperately needed for the community.

John served on many volunteer boards and committees to include the Eldorado, Texas Chamber of Commerce, served as the Military Liaison for the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Barrow Foundation Museum in Eola, Texas, member of the Ports to Plains and the Upper Colorado River Authority boards, served on the Concho Valley Council of Governments and member of the St. John’s Hospital Foundation.

His accomplishments are a testament to his hard work, honesty and integrity. His selfless dedication to his family, country and community were obvious to anyone who knew him. John grew up in Christ and used Christ to guide him through life.

Of all of these accomplishments he was most proud of his wife and four sons. They were always there to support him throughout the years with love and understanding. John was considered a friend and mentor by many and he will be truly missed.