This is Fred Nicholas, by far the Raboff family’s oldest friend. When I took that photo, early last year, Fred was 99. And yesterday he turned 100. Think about that for a moment. Think about what it would be like to have been born 1920, just a few years after WWI and so close to the last global pandemic (Spanish Flu). To have experienced the Great Depression, WWII, the escalation of the Cold War – and so much else – and still be around to remember it all vividly. So many historic milestones.
While turning 100 is in itself an incredible achievement, the fact that Fred is still sharp as a knife has a great sense of humor and a memory that blows me away makes his centennial celebration all the more noteworthy and inspiring.
My father, Ernest Raboff, and Fred met as soldiers sometime during World War II and with a few gaps thereafter, maintained their friendship until my dad passed away in the fall of 1986.
We visit Fred and his family every time we’ve been back to L.A. and no trip feels complete without a long lunch or dinner with him and his son Tony or with Joan before she passed. Due to the pandemic, we couldn’t make it to what was going to be a huge birthday bash for Fred at the Hillcrest Country Club. But I did get to speak with him today, just after he’d swam his morning laps in the pool!
The mayor of Los Angeles was among the many of Fred’s friends to congratulate and thank him for all his tremendous work for the cultural scene in Los Angeles. His achievements are far too many to list here, so I highly recommend visiting this website dedicated to Fred and produced by his son, Anthony Nicholas of Lapis Press.