Wilfred W. “Willie” Nicklin passed away Thursday, December 10, 2020, at Oakley Place in Topeka.
He was born September 28, 1928, in Baldwin City, KS, the son of Ira and Myrtle Elsie (Davies) Nicklin. Willie graduated from Horton High School in 1947, served in the United States Army, and earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Kansas, where he studied under the legendary Coach Phog Allen. He eventually obtained his Master’s Degree from Emporia State University.
Willie taught and coached in Arnold, Oxford and Topeka, finishing an exemplary career at Topeka High School. He was the head coach at THS from 1970 to 1994 and guided the Trojans to two State Championships (1973 and 1986), three State Championship 2nd place finishes, fourteen League Championships (Sunflower and I-70), eleven Sub-State Championships and seven Topeka Invitational Tournament Crowns. In 2006, the basketball court at Topeka High was named ‘Willie Nicklin Court’ in his honor. He posted 501 overall wins during his coaching career.
Coach Nicklin was a member of the Kansas Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, the Shawnee County Sports Hall of Fame, Lowman United Methodist Church and the University of Kansas Alumni Association.
Wilfred and Mary Darlene Marhofer were married in 1953. To this union four children were born - Dirk, Maria Christine, Steven and Nancee. Survivors include his children Christine Nicklin (George Pender) of Cary, NC, Steve Nicklin of Washington, DC and Nancee Crider (Kevin), Topeka; daughter-in-law, Suzanne LaFontaine Nicklin, Topeka; grandchildren Will, Jennifer and Andrew Nicklin of Topeka, Peter Nicklin of Kansas City, MO and Nick Crider of Overland Park, KS; great grandchildren, Kody and Kayla Nicklin; and his partner of nearly 30 years, Leslie Miller, Topeka. Also surviving are many nieces and nephews and their families, as well as an abundance of dedicated friends.
Willie was preceded in death by his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, David and Ruth Nicklin, his sister and brother-in-law, Beth and Charles Myers, his former wife Darlene and his beloved son Dirk Nicklin.
The family extends their gratitude for the wonderful care Willie received from Interim Hospice and Oakley Place during the last several months of his life.
A private family funeral service will be at Lowman United Methodist Church, followed by internment at Mount Hope Cemetery. The family plans a public celebration of his life at a later date.
Memorial contributions can be made to Valeo Behavioral Health Care or Lowman United Methodist Church.
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