Of Saugus — Mr. Leonidas A. Nickole, age 93, passed away at the Rubin House in Saugus on Thursday, April 2.
Born and raised in Saugus, Mr. Nickole was the son of the late Anesty and Olga (Petrakis) Nickole.
Leo graduated from Emerson College in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in theatre and speech and received a master's degree from Columbia University in 1950. After meritorious military service in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict, he returned to Boston and in 1953 was hired by Emerson College as an instructor of drama. He served as a full-time member of Emerson's theatre faculty for 48 years, and as an adjunct faculty member for an additional 12 years after his retirement.
During his tenure at Emerson, he served as chair of the Theatre Arts Department, founding chair of the Theatre Education Department, creator and director of the Musical Theatre Program, advisor to the Musical Theatre Society, and director of over 110 theatrical productions for college, community and summer theatres including forty-five spring musicals at Emerson. A renowned musical theatre historian, his course, Development of the American Musical, was a favorite among many students. He inspired hundreds of students to pursue careers as theatre educators, performers, directors, designers, historians and technicians. Leo also received numerous awards and recognitions, including professor emeritus status and an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from the College in 2001.
Leo was the founder of The Saugus Towncriers community theatre, now known as The Theatre Company of Saugus. He served as a Saugus Library Trustee, was a member of the William Sutton Lodge, and a life member of the New England Theatre Conference (NETC), which in 2001 established the annual Leonidas A. Nickole Theatre Educator of the Year Award, recognizing excellence in theatre education.
Leo is survived by many nieces and nephews and many beloved friends and colleagues. He was predeceased by three brothers, Kome, Nicholas and George Nickole and two sisters, Evangeline Cakounes and Hope Bakopolus.
Adhering to the state mandate and CDC guidelines, burial services were private. A memorial service will be planned for a later date.
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