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Gloucester City High School is accepting nominations for their Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. Requirements: Must have graduated at least 10 years ago; The individual must be successful in business, Cnbnews editorialprofessional career, self employment, or exemplary in community-humanitarian service.

A man we feel who meets all those requirements is James D. Nicholson, a long time resident of Gloucester City who lived in the 400 unit block of Walnut Avenue for decades. Jim died suddenly on February 22, 2019 at the age of 76. Jim was a modest man, who lived a life that mattered.  Many of us who knew Jim were not aware of all his accomplishment until recently. 

" I like to think that my obituary is already  being written in a lot of little obituaries. It's already out there.    ~Jim Nicholson

Mr. Nicholson worked as an Obituary Writer for the Philadelphia Daily News for 19 years retiring in 2001. 

Previously he had worked for The Inquirer, The Bulletin, Philadelphia Magazine, WCAU All-News Radio and IBS Investigative Services, all Philadelphia-based and for the Wilmington News-Journal (DE), the Baltimore News American (MD), the Camden Courier Post (NJ) and the Independent American (LA.)

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(photos of Jim at various stages of his life)

Sean Patrick Griffin, an author of *Black Brothers Inc, writes …..Investigative reporter Jim Nicholson was the first journalist to lift the lid on the ‘Black Mafia’. The gang operated a multi-million illegal drug business in North Philadelphia and up and down the east coast. His cover stories for the Philadelphia Magazine and Today revealed a vicious, insidious syndicate that was unknown to the wider population.

He also had worked as a police department intelligence analyst Camden City, NJ PD), political field organizer and speech writer, cement finisher, oil rig floor hand, truck dock worker and car salesman. Author of informal intelligence textbooks, “Because No One Else Can,” (Amazon, 2012) and “Strengthening the Four Pillars; Evaluating Intelligence Architecture,” (Amazon 2018.)

Jim graduated from Gloucester City High School, Class of 1960;  Jones County Junior College, (AA Degree, 1962), University of Southern Mississippi (BA Degree, journalism, 1964) US Army Command & General Staff College (Diploma, non-resident, 1991.)

He served in the US Marine Corps Reserve, (1960-1965.) Honorable Discharge, Private First Class. Served in the NJ Army National Guard as a Captain (Direct Commission) from 1982-84 then transferred to the US Army Reserve (1984-2002.) His MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) was 35E, Counterintelligence Officer. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He did tours of active duty as an Intelligence Officer in the Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agency, US Central Command, US Forces Command, Joint Task Force-Six, Ft. Bliss, TX, two multi-agency counter-drug task forces, Central America, the Middle East and along the Mexican Border. Nicholson voluntarily returned to active duty at the age of 66 for a one-year tour in Iraq, 2008-09.

 Mr. Nicholson received honors from the Society of Professional Obituary Writers’ first Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; the Editorial Excellence Award for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, 1991; the American Society of Newspaper Editors first Distinguished Writing Award for Obituary Writing, 1987 and the Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America, 1956.

He was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize six times; 1968, Wilmington, DE, News-Journal (MLK riots, team coverage), 1970, Philadelphia Inquirer (Yablonski murder case investigation), 1971, Philadelphia Inquirer (Veterans Stadium investigation), 1976, Philadelphia Bulletin, (outlaw motorcycle gang investigation), 1977, Philadelphia Bulletin (Chester City (PA) corruption investigation), 1986, (Philadelphia Daily News, obituary writing.)

His Army military awards and decorations include the Soldier’s Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Ribbon with “M” device, National Guard Emergency Mobilization ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon and Army Reserve Overseas Deployment Ribbon with numeral six.

Jim was a member of the St. Andrews United Methodist Church, Cherry Hill, NJ, where he and his wife, Betty had taught Sunday School; the National Military Intelligence Association, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the Military Intelligence Corps Association, the Military Officers Association of America, Old Salts & Assorted Spies Assoc. (OSAS) and the Society of Professional Obituary Writers, Jones County Junior College Alumni Association.

Nicholson had 45 years  experience as an investigator, analyst, intelligence officer and journalist in the areas of criminal, tactical, counter-guerrilla, counter-insurgency, counter-intelligence, counter-terrorism, force protection, counter-drug and Low Intensity Conflict (LIC) intelligence. His work has ranged from supervising a unit in Panama of 75 active duty personnel preparing for Invasion of Panama to serving as a military analyst assigned to the United States Custom and Border Protection (USBP) working alone in a trailer in the hill country on the U.S./Mexican border. Intelligence targets included drug traffickers, guerrillas, insurgents, foreign intelligence services, the Panamanian Defense Force, and organized and white-collar crime.

He had hands-on experience in investigations, planning, surveillance, interrogation/interviewing, producing flow charts, target folders, timelines, trend/pattern analysis, personality/psychological profiles and writing/supervising tactical, counter drug, counterintelligence and deception operations. Also, liaison and operational experience with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and defense contractor engineers. And, experienced briefing flag rank officers, policymakers and senior political officials.

Jim was a member of the Larry Pusey Scholarship committee which was formed to honor Gloucester City High School alumnus Larry Pusey, an outstanding GHS football player. For 10 years the committee presented a scholarship to a player from both Gloucester High and Gloucester Catholic who exemplified Pusey's character both on and off the field.

The man led an astonishing life. He will be remembered as a person who was dedicated to his family, country, community.

If there was ever a Gloucester City High School alumnus who deserved to be named to the Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame it is James D. Nicholson.

Below is a copy of the nomination form. We are urging others to also nominated Jim. Deadline for nominations is March 29, 2019.


RELATED: James D. Nicholson, A Man Who Lived a Fascinating Life


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