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Ray “Nick” Thomas Nicholas Jr.

Published June 24,2024

Obituary's Biography:

Ray “Nick” Thomas Nicholas, Jr., 70, a resident of Ingleside, IL, passed away June 21, 2024 at Northwestern McHenry Hospital in McHenry, IL.  He was born June 28, 1953 in Waukegan, IL to Ray Sr. and Willadene Nicholas.

Nick is survived by his childhood sweetheart, his wife of 50 years, Debra Nicholas, whom he wed on August 25, 1973 in Mundelein, IL, his children Amber (Jeff) Zei and Ryan Nicholas, his grandchildren James Grace and Laura Grace, and his sister Gayle Bohne.  He was preceded in death by his parents Ray Sr. and Willadene Nicholas, and his sister Sally Martens. 

Nick was a faithfully loving husband, an exceptional dad, and a fun-`loving grandpa. His devotion to his wife was an example to all. His creativity and big ideas made for fun childhoods for both his kids and grandkids. The title of Dad and Grandpa weren’t limited to them, as he was a father figure to many, and was well-known as “Grandpa Nick” to the kids’ friend groups.

Nick was a long-time resident of Grayslake, heavily involved in 4H and Boy Scouts, taking his first job as the neighborhood paper boy. He was small-town famous at 10 years of age, when he built an electric go kart with his dad. The wheels didn’t stop turning for him, as he continued to tinker and take on hobbies like antique restoration and making stained glass windows. With his invention of the Cutter’s Mate glass cutter in 1995, he began building what is now Creator’s brand, the family business. After 30 years of working for Imperial Crane as an oiler, he was able to retire and completely pour himself into this family business, which has expanded to include a diverse array of hobby tools.

Nick was actively involved in his church and had a knack for teaching children with his wife Debbie for over 25 years. His creativity made for amazing details for plays and events, whether it was gigantic planets hanging from the ceilings or a miniature roller coaster complete with flashing lights on the stage for Vacation Bible School. His stained glass artwork still hangs in the windows at Living Waters Church.

Nick always thought big, and his heart was even bigger. He was a friend to all who met him–gentle, humble, and incredibly funny. He showed the love of God through the way he lived his life and treated others, and he will be deeply missed.

A visitation is scheduled for Friday, June 28, 2024 at Strang Funeral Chapel & Crematorium 410 E. Belvidere Rd. Grayslake, IL 60030 from 4:00pm until 8:00pm.  A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, June 29, 2024 at Living Waters Church 525 N. Atkinson Rd. Grayslake, IL 60030 at 10:30am.  The burial will be held privately.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to College of the Ozarks https://www.cofo.edu/Development . Nick appreciated this college for its dedication to developing students to be of Christ-like character, skilled in a trade, hard working and patriotic. He visited to donate and demo his tools for the stained glass department there for the last three years.  For more information log onto www.strangfuneral.org or contact (847)223-8122.

To view slideshow click here: https://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/YDWRQSCC4PC3DW4F

Join the Conversation


  1. Debbie, So sorry to hear of Nick’s passing. I am shocked. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I have not been back to Illinois for such a long time but it seems like yesterday we were in high school.

  2. Words cannot express the brokenness I feel losing you Dad. I miss you tremendously. My heart is so heavy and it was unexpected. I can only pray that one day I will see you again.
    I love You Dad!!!

  3. He was a wonderful man. He will be missed. Praying the Lord bless Nicholas family with comfort and strength in this difficult time 🌷

  4. Nick was not only my cousin but a great friend of mine. He would try to help anyone with a situation if he could. My deepest thoughts go out to his wife Debbie and his daughter, son and his grandchildren. Save me a seat my brother. Love and miss you already.

  5. Nick is married to my cousin Debbie and the two were inseparable. They have a daughter Amber and a son Ryan and grand children who they love dearly.Nick will be missed by all. Save me a seat brother and may you R.I.P.
    Your with GOD now.

  6. Our hearts are saddened by the passing of our very dear friend, Nick. He brought so much love, joy, laughter, and fun into our lives. Life will not be the same here on earth without him. We look forward to the day we see Nick in heaven. We will be praying for you Debbie and the rest of the family continually. Sending you all our love.

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