Samaritan helps family adjust to loss

North County News

Orange County Register
05 Aug 1993: 04.

Life goes on for Stewart Nickless.

Nearly three months after his wife was killed when another motorist struck the family’s station wagon head-on, the U.S. Marines second lieutenant is learning to be both father and mother to three young girls.

“I’m kind of overwhelmed working full time and being a single father,” Nickless said. “The house is pretty empty without my wife.”

The girls, ages 2-8, are recovering from injuries sustained in the May 15 crash on Sand Canyon Avenue.

Six-year-old Kali — riding in the passenger seat — suffered a fractured skull, a broken jaw and scrapes. She was hospitalized for about a week and had to eat soft food for a month. She will need orthodontic work.

Paige, 2, also suffered a fractured skull. Both her legs had severe fractures, one above the knee, the other below. She’s since had plastic surgery.

Eight-year-old Alexandria had the least-severe injuries: bruises and swelling.

Laura Milbrandt of Irvine was touched by news accounts of the crash.

Milbrandt learned that Marine insurance would cover the medical expenses, but that Cynthia Nickless had no life insurance.

“I know what I felt, and I know that a lot of people read the same thing,” Milbrandt said.

So she began to lobby merchants at Crossroads Center at Barranca Parkway and Culver Drive to donate a portion of the proceeds from a day’s sales. Then she enlisted the help of the center’s management company, Hollis and Associates Inc.

About 30 of the center’s 40 merchants participated in Tuesday’s daylong fund-raiser.

Those wishing to make a donation to the Nickless trust fund can send a check to First Interstate Bank, in care of Ewalani Santiago, 1140 Irvine Blvd., Tustin 92680. Make checks payable to Alexandria N. Nickless, CUTM.

Copyright Orange County Register Aug 5, 1993