More MS news articles for July 2001

Ex-president of theater guild, volunteer Evelyn Fox Nickolas

July 4, 2001, 10:01PM
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle

Evelyn Fox Nickolas, a former president of the Alley Theatre Guild who spent much time doing volunteer work despite being disabled by multiple sclerosis, died Monday. She was 66.

Nickolas died at her home in Houston's Westbury subdivision in the company of her husband and two sons.

"She said she never wanted to go to a hospital again, that she wanted to die at home," said Chris Nickolas, her husband of 48 years. "That's what happened. She died with her family around her."

Chris Nickolas said his wife was an inspiration to her family and friends with her gritty determination to live life as fully as possible despite her disease. She first exhibited symptoms of the disease at age 25, and started using a wheelchair at age 35.

She volunteered for nearly 15 years at the Alley Theatre, serving as president of the theater guild for one year, her husband said. She was also active in the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

"When she couldn't walk, she would do things for the church or the theater from a wheelchair," Chris Nickolas said. "Like selling Greek hats at festivals. She was good at that because she was a beautiful lady."

Nickolas said he volunteered at the Alley Theatre with his wife, and they served as co-chairs for the theater's ninth and 10th annual galas.

"We joined the theater and went to everything because it took our minds off the problems of M.S.," he said. "It put us into a fantasyland we could enjoy."

Nickolas, a retired insurance salesman, said he and his wife were grateful for a 10-year remission from the disease soon after symptoms first appeared.

"We traveled and didn't save a dime," he said. "She got to go to Europe and met her aunts and grandmother in Greece. We lived just as fully as we could."

Nickolas described his wife as outgoing and bubbly and a devoted mother and grandmother of four.

He said they met in 1952 at her uncle's home in Dallas, where he watched television for the first time in his life.

"We just sat watching TV," he recalled. "I said hello and goodbye to her, and when I left I said, `I'm going to marry her.' She walked home and told her mother, `I'm going to marry him.' "

Their predictions came true a year later.

Evelyn Nickolas, a native of Waco, attended Southern Methodist University, but left the school to marry and raise her family.

She had an infant son who died. Her two surviving sons, Kenneth T. Nickolas and Chris J. Nickolas, both live in the Houston area. She is also survived by her mother, Helen Spaliaras of Dallas, and brothers Nick Fox of Cordova and Tom Fox of McKinney.

A funeral was held Wednesday at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Houston.