Obituary: Nick Nichols

Obituary: Nick Nichols

A. J. “Nick” Nichols III died on Dec. 30 at his home in San Francisco, Calif., at 86.

A. J. “Nick” Nichols III, the Bay Area technology expert and engineer who served as a “tech guru” in high-profile court cases, died on Dec. 30 at his home in San Francisco, Calif., at 86.

His daughter, Atlantan Michèle Taylor, has been nominated to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council.

Nichols, who previously worked for Millennium Systems, Intel Corporation, American Microsystems, Novar Corporation and Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, was the president of Probitas Inc.

He had advised judges in several high-stakes technology cases as special master and neutral expert. Notably, Nichols served as neutral expert in Applied Materials v. MultiMetrixs and Napster, the case that spawned the music streaming industry we know today.

Nichols also held several patents and had a hand in many of Silicon Valley’s most important technological advances, including the microprocessor, early video games, GPS maps and the first cash registers with scanning capability. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University, an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford, and B.S. degrees in both business management and electrical engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Nichols was a lifelong learner and educator. He lectured at Stanford University and taught a course titled Buzzwords with Byte in the early days of computing to help people understand the basics of the emerging technology. He gave generously of his time as a tutor and mentor to young students. He also enjoyed attending lectures and gave talks on a variety of topics throughout his life, most recently on the facts surrounding Bitcoin.

He is survived by his loving family, including: his wife, Linda McPharlin of San Francisco, Calif.; sister, Betty Jean Bacon of Mason, Ohio; daughter, Michèle Taylor and her husband, Kenneth, of Atlanta, Ga.; stepson, Sean McPharlin, his wife, Andrea, and their son, Milo, of El Cerrito, Calif.; grandson, Zach Taylor, and his partner, Raymond Starks, of Charlottesville, Va.; and granddaughter, Zoë Ruhl, and her husband, Christian, of Philadelphia, Penn. He also leaves behind a large community of friends and colleagues throughout the Bay Area.

Nichols, who was fighting mesothelioma, died peacefully at home in Pacific Heights, surrounded by family, with a sweeping view of San Francisco and the Bay, the area he loved and helped to shape.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be made in Nick Nichols’s memory to Friends of the Children — SF Bay Area, 111 Quint St., SF 94124. Friends of the Children is an organization he believed in and supported, which is dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through salaried, professional mentoring.

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