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Welcome to the memorial page for

John Nikelly

March 11, 2017

John G. Nikelly, PhD
1928 - 2017


John G. Nikelly, 88, of the Kendal Community in Kennett Square, PA, formerly of Swarthmore, PA, died on March 11, 2017 at his residence after a brief illness.

Born in the United States to George and Mary Nikelly, his family moved to Lesbos, Greece in the 1930s returning to the U.S. after World War II.  He received a BS degreee from the University of Illinois in 1952 and a PhD in analytical chemistry from Cornell University in 1956.  While working for Esso (now Exxon Mobil) in Bayonne, NJ and living in Westfield, NJ, he met Margaret Witte whom he married in 1961.  Shortly thereafter, he joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (now University of the Sciences), becoming a full professor.  Residing in Swarthmore, PA until they moved to Kendal in 2011, he continued teaching part-time while mentoring doctoral candidates.  John was an active member of the American Chemical Society for 25 years, publishing papers in their journal and serving on various committees.  He was a founding member and president of the Delaware Valley Chromatography Forum.  He also enjoyed writing letters to the editor of the New York Times.  Several were published, one on the bioavailability and cost tradeoffs of generic drugs and another on the impact of energy sector policy on social equality.  John was a deeply devoted and loving husband of Margaret during their 55 years of marriage. Together, they enjoyed hiking, traveling and vacationing in small towns in Europe. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in 2011 with extended family in McCall, ID.  In Swarthmore, he was a board member and president of the local co-op, a dedicated owner of VW Beetles, a collector of old clocks, and an avid gardener.  He was also a generous supporter of Swarthmore College along with Margaret who was director of the Office of Planned Giving for many years. 

John is survived by his wife, Margaret, of Kendal; a sister, Eva, of Morton Grove,IL; brother-in-law Robert Witte (Betsy); sister-in-law Lynne Palmer (Archie); and four nieces. He was predeceased by his brother, Dr. Arthur Nikelly of Urbana, IL. 

A memorial service will be held in Swarthmore at a later date with internment at the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.

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