Winter Holiday 03

Olavi "Nick" W. Niskanen

June 19, 1936 ~ December 16, 2020 (age 84)

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Middleburgh - Olavi William (Nick) Niskanen, 84, passed away at home on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

He was born June 19, 1936 in Alatornio, Finland (Lapland) to Helmi Sofia (Nuttula) Niskanen and Urho Immanuel Niskanen. Urho emigrated to the United States where he worked to save enough money to bring his family to America. During the time he was gone, Olavi spent time going to school working odd jobs. He went ice fishing in the winter and fished on a boat with his Uncle in the Gulf of Bothnia in the summer. Cross country skiing was not only a way of getting around during the cold and snowy winters, but also a sport that he excelled at, winning many metals and was even considered an Olympic hopeful.

The time came to leave Finland. Olavi and his Mother, Helmi, sister Eila Maria and brother Leo Edward boarded the M/S Stockholm in Gothenburg Sweden on May 7, 1951 and arrived at the Port of New York May 16, 1951. 

Urho found employment as a Superintendent in an apartment building on Bathgate Ave. in the Bronx and moved his family there from Brooklyn. It was here he met some new friends who gave him the nick name, “Nick”. One of those new friends was Virginia Cecelia Mare who was known by her friends as “Ginger". They were engaged in 1954 and married September 3, 1955 at St. Josephs Roman Catholic Church. Nick received his citizenship to the United States of America on January 21, 1957.

Nick found his occupational niche in construction as a Carpenter working at first with his Father, Urho between Long Island, NYC and up to Putnam County eventually becoming a very skilled and sought-after Forman. He completed 50 years of continuous membership in the in the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and granted Life Membership. He worked a few years in Real Estate before retiring and moved from Mahopac Falls, NY to Middleburgh, NY in 2003.


Nick’s hobbies included fishing and nearly everyone in the family went fishing with him in streams, reservoirs, LI Sound on the shores, docks and in boats. He was always at the top of any sports league he played on which included Soccer, Bowling, Softball and Baseball.  Every family gathering included sports for fun- badminton, basketball, horseshoes, swimming, sledding, skiing and ski jumping. He also went hunting for turkey and deer each year at a cabin in Walton NY owned by his very good friend of many years, Vinny. Those were very special times he looked forward to and often talked about. Many family members went there with him during the summer months to ride the trails, target practice, enjoy good food and celebrate life together.

Nick was predeceased by his brother, Leo Edward Niskanen, brother-in-law Eugene Gesselli, nieces Terri Gesselli Goordineer and Carolyn Gesselli Mullholland, nephew Mark Makipuro.

He will remain forever in the hearts of his beloved wife of 65 years: Virginia Cecelia Niskanen of Middleburgh; sister: Eila Makipuro of Willimantic, CT; brother Paul Niskanen of Hampton, CT; brother-in-law: Hannu Makipuro of Willimantic, CT; sisters-in-law: Jeanette Niskanen of Niantic, CT, Shelly Niskanen and Jeane Gesselli of Peekskill, NY; daughters: Geri White of Middleburgh, Linda Zaicek of Poughkeepsie and Mary Prisco of West Melbourne, FL; sons-in-law: Tom White of Middleburgh, Glen Zaicek of Poughkeepsie and Greg Prisco of Melbourne, FL; granddaughters: Natasha Zaicek, Amanda Moreau; grandsons: Glen Zaicek, Nick Zaicek and Carson White; great-grandchildren: Anthony Zaicek, Angelina Gomez, Angelo Rodriguez , Grayson Moreau and Hudson Moreau; nieces and nephews: Robert Gesselli, Denise Gesselli-Yap, Anthony Gesselli, Maritta Makipuro, Amy Niskanen Richter, Eric Niskanen and Allan Niskanen. As well so many other family members and friends who enjoyed his company, his kindness and especially his smile.

In lieu of flowers, please offer someone your smile, a kind word or a random act of kindness in his memory.

The Family will be having a Life Celebration for Nick on June 19-20, 2021.

Coltrain Funeral Home, LLC of Middleburgh is honored to be caring for Nick and his family

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Olavi "Nick" W. Niskanen, please visit our floral store.


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