John G. Nicholas, a longtime prominent Queens attorney who once led 40,000 people on a peaceful march on Washington to protest President Jimmy Carter's decision to send arms to Turkey, has died. He was 79.
During his extensive legal career, the 1959 graduate of St. John's Law School took on several pro bono cases, aiding the underprivileged, family members said.
"He was always there for the underdog. While proud of his Greek heritage, he also cared about all people," said George Stamboulidis, Nicholas' nephew. "A lot of people become lawyers and became active in the community because he was a role model in their lives."
The son of Greek immigrants, Nicholas was a prominent leader of the New York City Greek American community, where he united people of diverse backgrounds.
Nicholas' beliefs in individual rights led him to organize a march on Washington, where 40,000 Greek Americans protested Carter's controversial decision to ship arms to Turkey during its dispute with Cyprus, family members said.
Nicholas organized voting drives for immigrants and promoted community programs offering free health screenings and checkups for seniors. He was twice selected chairman of the Greek Independence Day Parade, family members said.
"He was a humanitarian. His law practice was like a community outreach center," said his son Charles Nicholas of Syosset.
Nicholas is also survived by his wife, Rosemary Nicholas; and his other children, George Nicholas of Rockville Centre, Evelyn Bailey of Queens, and Cheryl Nicholas of Manhattan; a son-in-law, Edward Bailey; two sisters, Sophia Nicholas Stamboulidis and Katherine Nicholas; and six grandchildren.
A wake will be held Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Martin A. Gleason Funeral Home in Whitestone, Queens. The service will be Monday at 9:30 a.m. at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church, 15005 12th Ave., Whitestone, Queens.