Richard R. "Dick" Nicolai, park promoter, author

Richard R. Nicolai
Richard R. Nicolai
Posted: May 24, 2014

Richard R. "Dick" Nicolai, 81, of Philadelphia, promotion director for Fairmount Park and spokesman for the Fairmount Park Commission for 27 years, died Sunday, May 18, of Alzheimer's disease at Nazareth Hospital Hospice.

Mr. Nicolai retired in the mid-1990s after a career as the public information officer for the 8,900-acre parkland and its governing panel.

In that role, he encouraged visitors to tour the parkland's offerings, reported on the illegal activities of tree rustlers in the park, and sat in on the official meetings of the Fairmount Park Commission. He was quoted frequently in The Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

Before working for the commission, he was a public relations officer for the Pop Warner football league, the youth organization that started in 1929 as a four-team conference in Northeast Philadelphia.

He also was a sportswriter for The Inquirer in the early 1960s.

Born in Kensington, Mr. Nicolai graduated from Northeast High School and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from Temple University. During the Korean War, he served in the Army.

He was the author of Centennial Philadelphia, a commemorative 96-page book published by Bryn Mawr Press Inc. in 1976. "I understand it's still in school and college libraries," said his daughter, Sharon Houlihan.

Surviving, beside his daughter, are his wife, Florence D. Hearn; three grandchildren; a great-grandson; a brother; and many nieces and nephews. Two brothers and a sister died earlier.

A visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Friday, May 23, followed by a 10:30 a.m. funeral service at the Rose Funeral Home, 2616 Bridge St., Philadelphia. Interment will be in Forest Hills Cemetery.

Donations may be made to the Alzheimer's Association, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia 19106.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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