Mt. Pleasant dentist was life of the party, loved by all
If James Nicolette saw a piano in a hotel lobby, he would walk right up and play.
“He just loved to entertain, he loved people around him,” said Eva Joy Brown Nicolette, his wife of 65 years. “People drew close to the piano when he was playing.”
As bystanders came over to listen, Nicolette would play “The Laughing Song,” a ragtime tune from the late 1800s. The chorus isn’t words, but laughter. And together, those gathered around the piano would laugh, his wife said.
Dr. James Eugene Nicolette, 89, of Mt. Pleasant died Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Excela Health-Frick Hospital.
Born Feb. 18, 1929, he was the son of the late James and Angela Santora Nicolette.
Dr. Nicolette was a 1946 graduate of the former Ramsay High School. He received his undergraduate degree in 1950 and dental degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 1958, opening his dental practice in Mt. Pleasant that same year.
He was introduced to his wife by his twin brother, Jack Nicolette, who was performing at a spot called The Hitching Post in Mt. Pleasant. She was working in the kitchen and got to know Jack, who played piano.
“He was the life of the party,” Mrs. Nicolette said of her late husband, a loving, caring man who loved to tell jokes. Like his brother, he played the piano as well as the saxophone.
Though Dr. Nicolette had a passion for entertaining, he was also a pioneer in his profession, his wife said.
He served as an instructor at the Pitt School of Dental Medicine and was a founding partner in the Life Care Center for Outpatient Surgery. He was also a partner in the Westmoreland Dental Arts Group, opening the Fay-West Dental Center in 1980.
Dr. Nicolette served as president of the dental staff, a trustee and past president of the medical staff for HC Frick Community Hospital.
“People loved him, his patients loved him, his assistants loved him,” his wife said.
Dr. Nicolette was a member of the American Dental Association, PA Dental Association, Deontological Society of Western PA, Westmoreland County Dental Society and the Academy of Dental Anesthesiology and Oral Implantology, the International College of Dentists.
“My husband has always said he has his teeth because of Doctor,” said Peggy Turkovich, a family friend. “He has been respected and influenced many dentists in the area and they have been successful in their practice because of his skill and ability to pass his knowledge to others.”
Dr. Nicolette served in the Army during the Korean War and was a member of American Legion Post 446 as well as St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by children, Deborah L. Cameron, of Mt. Pleasant; Michael R. Nicolette and his wife, Denise, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; James Eugene Nicolette II of Mt. Pleasant, and Brett A. Nicolette and his wife, Cassandra, of Mt. Pleasant; along with several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at Galone-Caruso Funeral Home, 204 Eagle St., Mt. Pleasant. Private interment will take place in St. Pius X Parish Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant.
The American Legion Post 446 will conduct military honors at 1 p.m. Sunday in the funeral home.
Memorials may be made in honor of Dr. Nicolette to the Wounded Warriors Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 6675-8517.