Thomas O. Nicklas, M.D., age 84, beloved doctor, husband, father, and friend, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 at his home in Grove, OK.
Tom was born on January 12, 1935 in Comanche, OK to John and Ince (Ludewell) Nicklas. He grew up in Oklahoma City, OK and graduated from Capitol Hill High School. There, he met his bride of 65 years, Susanne Divine, and they were married on April 5, 1954 in Guthrie, OK. After high school, Tom earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and then graduated from the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine where he served as the president of his class all four years. He graduated in 1962. After completing his internship at St. Anthony’s Hospital in OKC, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and proudly served as a Green Beret in the 82ndAirborne Division. Tom was selected for Special Forces duty, completing Underwater Demolition and Special Operations training. His unit was deployed to Vietnam, where he served as a surgeon in the most intense combat theatres of the war.
After completing his Army tour, Tom attended Tulane University, where he received specialized training and board certification in Ophthalmology. He served a one-year fellowship with Dr.John Sheets, a pioneer in phacoemulsification (laser cataract removal) and was one of the first doctors to offer that treatment in Oklahoma. Tom also served as the Assistant Clinical Professor at Dean McGee Eye Institute in Oklahoma City, OK. He practiced Ophthalmology for 20 years before joining the Air Force, and served as a hospital commander on three bases and spearheaded development of a Strategic Air Command mobile airborne hospital.
In 1985, Tom and Susanne left the Air Force. At the urging of Dr. Norman Cotner, they moved to Grove, where Tom was the first surgical specialist. He tried retirement in 1996. During his “retirement,” Tom purchased land and began cattle ranching, but he missed his patients. He sold his cattle and opened an Ophthalmology practice in Jay, OK. He continued to see patients until the age of 81.
Tom was larger-than-life: strong, intelligent, fearless, funny, and a faithful servant of Christ. He never forgot his humble beginnings and worked hard to bless patients, friends, even strangers with his kindness and generosity. Being outdoors brought Tom great enjoyment, whether it was riding horses, elk hunting in Colorado, or growing his legendary tomatoes that he readily shared with his friends and neighbors.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his in-laws, Dr. and Mrs. Hal G. Divine.
Tom is survived by: wife, Susanne Nicklas of Grove, OK; children: Diane Mastin and husband, Darrell of Grove, OK, Vicki Beckwith and husband, Ron of Broken Arrow, OK, Tom Nicklas, Jr and wife, Charla and Nancy Smith and husband, Jerry, both from Tulsa, OK, sister, Beverly Jo Hubbard of Kingfisher, OK, 10 grandchildren, and 13 great grandchildren.
Visitation for family and friends will be from 5-7pm Monday, July 8 at Nichols-Stephens Funeral Service. Funeral services will be at 2pm Tuesday, July, 9, 2019 at Grove’s First Baptist Church. Rabbi Curt Landry and Pastor Marty Dyer will officiate. Military rites and interment at Olympus Cemetery North.
If desired, donations may be made to Newsong Church, Faith Church of Grove, or House of David in c/o Nichols-Stephens Funeral Service 10201 US Hwy 59 Grove, OK 74344.
Online condolences may be made at www.nicholsfuneralandcremation.com