Russell Nicoll (known affectionately as “Doc”) was born in 1912 and graduated with a BSA in 1938, majoring in Agricultural Economics. An accomplished athlete, he twice represented Canada in the world lacrosse championships. In addition he was a powerful oarsman, once rowing a 14-foot boat from Breakwater Island near Gabriola Island over 30 miles to Vancouver in eight hours during a rail and ferry strike.
Following graduation, he took up a position with the Canada Department of Agriculture in 1939 and helped to introduce National Egg Grading Regulations while managing nine Canadian egg processing plants across Canada. The dehydrated egg that was an important food development and was shipped overseas to Canadian troops during WWII is credited as being Doc’s invention. Later he became an officer in the Royal Canadian navy.
During the 1960’s and while a resident of the Gulf islands, Doc became an expert in the field of property taxes when assessments rose by several hundred or thousand percent. He felt strongly that the whole assessment system was unfair and that BC should have an ombudsman to help the distressed taxpayer. As a result he challenged many assessments on his own and others’ behalf and achieved a successful record at the Court of Appeal. All legal costs were borne by Doc. After traveling twice around the world and visiting 70-80 countries, he believed that the federal government should allow a homeowner’s property tax as an income tax exemption. He also wrote about real estate taxation as a columnist for the Nanaimo Times, his column being named “Tax Facts”. For more than 10 years Doc helped to develop fair and equitable property tax legislation, which still benefits Gulf island residents today.
A generous benefactor, Doc Nicoll donated substantial parcels of land to the Province for parkland. In addition he created the Waikiki Aekai Uniona (WAU), an altruistic world-wide organization that focuses on creating goodwill ambassadors who realize that they are responsible, in part, for the well-being of others. WAU affirmed the need for recognizing the equality, dignity and respect of and for, all people. Its slogans include: “Help someone today,” and “Give of yourself to others without expectation of return.” The organization grew to cover all of North America and over fifty countries with hundreds of members throughout the world. Doc personally covered all costs of the organization, no money being accepted from the members. Senior government officials, military leaders and executives have lauded him for his altruistic mission. He was also a benefactor to UBC, donating the WAU Bequest for the establishment of three scholarships in the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
Doc’s generosity and life achievements were recognized in many ways. In 2001 he received a an Alumni Achievement Award from UBC for his outstanding achievements. Other awards included:
* Certificate of Outstanding Friendliness, fellowship of WAU from House of Commons, Canada (1992)
* Certificate of Appreciation from Mayor of Enumclaw, Washington (1986)
* As a Honorary Citizen of Enumclaw, Washington, June 1st, 1984 was named R.E. Nicoll Day in the City of Enumclaw
* Honorary Citizen of Newfoundland
* Honorary Cowboy of Wyoming
* Honorary Realtor of Rhode Island
* Honorary Chemist of America
* The Yahwah Yoga Center of Honolulu Hawaii – conferred on “Doc” the title “Venerable Patriarch of Humanities”
Doc was an avid traveller and divided the later years of his life between Hawaii and BC (Breakwater Island). His life experience was rich and diverse and he distinguished himself in many endeavors. Doc passed away in Vancouver, BC, in 2006 at the age of 93.
R Blair and C R Nicholls 2007, based on information from Doc’s Obituary (Feb. 2006)