Services will be held Saturday for Dr. Walter R. Nickel, a dermatologist and past president of the San Diego County Medical Society, who died Sunday at his Point Loma home.
Nickel, 81, practiced for more than 40 years in San Diego and treated more than 100,000 patients, according to his family. His practice is being carried on by his partner, Dr. John Lindholm.
Nickel was the founding chairman of the Division of Dermatology at UC San Diego Medical School, and he taught residents at the Navy Hospital in Balboa Park for 40 years. He also taught at the University of Southern California weekly for 20 years.
Nickel was named "Practitioner of the Year" by the national Dermatology Foundation in 1981, and in 1983 he was named "Citizen of the Year" by the San Diego City Club and "Physician of the Year" by the San Diego County Medical Society.
He was founder and past president of four professional societies: the American Society of Dermatopathology, the Pacific Dermatologic Assn., the Sonoran Dermatology Society and the San Diego Dermatologic Society. He was also an active member of other professional societies, including the American Dermatologic Assn. and the American Academy of Dermatology. He authored many books and articles on diseases of the skin and contributed chapters to a number of medical textbooks.
Nickel was known for his enthusiasm for whatever he undertook, and he cherished his reputation as a "character," family members said.
Nickel was a native of Ohio. He graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan and received his medical training at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic. During World War II, he served in the Army Medical Corps as a major and was stationed in the Philippines. He settled in San Diego in 1946.
Nickel supported a broad spectrum of civic, artistic and charitable activities, with particular emphasis on the Boy Scouts, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Opera and the San Diego Symphony Assn., serving on the symphony group's board of directors.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Mona E. Nickel; his five sons, Dr. James Nickel, Charles Nickel, Thomas Nickel and John Nickel, all of San Diego, and Russell Nickel of San Francisco; a brother in Ohio and six grandchildren.
The memorial service will be at 11 a.m. at Point Loma Community Presbyterian Church, where he was a member for more than 40 years. The family requests that memorial contributions in lieu of flowers be given to the San Diego Dermatologic Society, the Boy Scouts of America or Hillsdale College.