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Nickolas Kotula

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“God bless you Nick, I learned a tremendous amount from you in our short time together. I think of you especially when I'm putting finish on a piece...Read More »
1 of 3 | Posted by: A friend

“Dear Nick -Sorry to loose you. A thoughtful, but slightly eccentric man, with strong likes and dislikes. A good friend, always ready to help. A...Read More »
2 of 3 | Posted by: A friend

“God Bless you Nick. Peace and respectNancy ”
3 of 3 | Posted by: Nancy Britton - New Hartford, CT


Nickolas Kotula, age 84, passed away on January 6, 2016 after a long, brave fight with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). An antique furniture scholar and conservator based in Bloomfield, CT, Nick's life was characterized by professional excellence, personal growth and intellectual inquiry. Though he was not inclined to suffer fools gladly, Nick had an enormous capacity to empathize with the authentic suffering of the individuals he encountered in his life and was prone to stunning acts of generosity. He was a teacher, advocate and mentor to many. Nick was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1931, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and worked at Pratt & Whitney for several years before beginning his study of antique furniture and furniture making. Nick was the last cabinetmaking apprentice of Hartford's Nathan Margolis Shop, studying there until the shop closed its doors in the 1970s. It was during this apprenticeship that Nick gained both a deeper understanding of the artistry of traditional cabinetmaking and the sometimes brutal methods employed during the training of apprentices, an experience about which he would write in later years. A lover of aviation and design, Nick also studied archaeology, architecture, art, metalworking, psychology and animal behavior. He enjoyed all aspects of the natural world and was able to easily identify all varieties of trees, wildflowers, birds and animal tracks while on a walk through the woods. Over the years, Nick was an active member of several professional, arts and cultural organizations including the American Institute of Conservation, the Wadsworth Atheneum, the Connecticut Historical Society, the New Britain Museum of American Art, and the Society of American Period Furniture Makers. He participated in several excavations organized by the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology in Connecticut, and served for many years as a corporator of the Hartford Art School. Nick often spoke of his love of libraries, and to anyone interested, he would tell the touching story of his experience as a child at the Carnegie library branch near his Pittsburgh home. Before he was eleven years old, he had finished reading all of the books of interest to him in the children's collection, but children were not allowed into the adult stacks until age 14. So Nick, as a boy, approached the Head Librarian and requested permission to explore and borrow books from the adult library. Though he was not granted immediate access, his request was considered, and ultimately he was given permission to enter the adult stacks, as long as he promised to be quiet and not bring any friends with him! For Nick, his love of books and learning was a great comfort and constant companion throughout his life. Nick is survived by a close circle of friends and several family members residing outside of Connecticut. A memorial service will be held at a future date. For information about the memorial service, please send an email to info@artistforartistsproject.org or write "Memorial Service" c/o The Artist for Artists Project, 542 Hopmeadow Street - #139, Simsbury, CT, 06070. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Nickolas Kotula's name to the Children's Room at your local public library. For online condolences please visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com

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