Randy Nichols Dies at 72; Longtime Sitka Fisherman

Randall “Randy” Green Nichols

Randall “Randy” Green Nichols, 72, of Sitka, passed away on September 12, 2023, with his family by his side.

Randy was born on September 28, 1950, the oldest child of Robert and Harriet Nichols, of Tacoma, Washington.

Randy greatly enjoyed the outdoors, spending many days boating, hunting, fishing, and camping with his family during his youth. Randy graduated from Wilson High School in 1968 and joined the Navy in 1969, when he was 19. He was released from his service after a brief time due to medical reasons. He then attended Central Washington University where he obtained a teaching degree so that he could go fishing during the summer months. After two years Randy decided that teaching middle school shop classes was not for him, and resolved that he was just going to have to make it out fishing.

Randy’s first love was fishing and he had an exceptional commercial fishing career trolling for salmon and long-lining for halibut and black cod. He sold his first salmon when he was in ninth grade, and bought his first commercial trolling boat, the Star Lite, in 1973. He fished the Star Lite for six years before building his next boat, the Nekton, with his grandfather, Abel Green. It was completed in early 1979 and he first found his way to Southeast Alaska while trolling for salmon on the Nekton in the summer of 1979. Randy didn’t know a single person in Alaska at that time, but spent the next 40 years living his dream in Southeast Alaska.

Randy moved to Alaska permanently and became a resident of Sitka in 1981 and lived there for the remainder of his life. He married Carolyn Loughney on August 22, 1985, and their twins, Ryan Abel and Carina Rose, were born on April 24, 1987. While they later parted ways, they raised their family onboard the Nekton, first taking their children out for the fishing season at the age of seven weeks.

Randy fished the Nekton until 2014 when his health made it too difficult for him to continue. His son, Ryan, took over the operation at that point. Randy greatly enjoyed receiving the daily “fish report” from his son for the remainder of his life.

Randy’s other great love was hunting – he was happiest in the mountains. He was an avid hunter and shared many campfires with his friends and family over the years. This pastime took him all over Alaska and to most of the western U.S. states in pursuit of his passion. He shared many successful hunts with his son, Ryan, that were particularly memorable.

Randy greatly enjoyed being out in the woods and was a regular on Sitka’s extensive trail system.

Randy is survived by his son, Ryan A. Nichols and daughter, Carina R. Nichols, both of Sitka.

He was predeceased by his brother, Robert Nichols; and parents Robert and Harriet Nichols.

An opportunity for family and friends to remember Randy is scheduled for 4 p.m. October 14 at the Del Shirley Room in Allen Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.

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