March 19, 1948 ~ February 28, 2022

Born in: Peru, Indiana
Resided in: Fishers, Indiana

Joseph Henry Nixon Jr.

Joseph Henry Nixon Jr. was born March 19, 1948 to Joseph Henry Nixon and Marian Hamp Nixon in Peru, IN. He had three siblings—Eugenia, Don, and Joan—and Joe was the youngest. His eldest sister, Joan, is now deceased and there was also a fifth sibling who was stillborn. He grew up in Wabash, IN. In 1966, he graduated from Culver Military Academy in Culver, IN, and in 1970, he graduated with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Urban Studies from Indiana University. He then went on to earn an MA in Business from Indiana University in 1972. While at Indiana University, where he was a member of the Singing Hoosiers, he met his future wife, Nikki Peck (m. 1969–1985). They were married in their senior year on December 14, 1969. They then joined celebrated mountaineer Paul Petzoldt in his annual New Year’s assaults on the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, where they celebrated their honeymoon. Both were graduates of Petzoldt’s National Outdoor Leadership School, which he founded in 1965.

Joe began his career at Nixon Newspapers, a family-owned company publishing small daily and weekly newspapers in the Indiana towns of Peru, Wabash, Michigan City, Frankfort, and Auburn. He also served twice on the Board of Directors for Nixon Enterprises, Inc. From 1979–1980, Joe was a morning news anchor, political reporter, and weekly talk show host for WBAK-TV38 in Terre Haute, IN. He was a registered regional representative at ShareAmerica, a startup securities broker-dealer, which he helped get registered in thirty-two states, dealing with both state and federal regulations. He also contributed to the educational activities of the Hyperspectral Imaging Foundation and helped identify the programs for scholarships and grants the Foundation adopted.

Joe’s two children, Sunset Sky and Joseph Henry III, were born in Michigan City, where he loved singing and participating in musical theater. He played the male lead, Tommy Albright, in Brigadoon; Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof; and Bert Healy, a radio announcer, in Annie with his daughter, Sunset, playing one of the orphans. Joe enjoyed living near Lake Michigan, and he took many beautiful photos of the sun setting at the beach, often with the Chicago skyline visible in the background. The beauty of nature inspired the name of his daughter, and he even built a dark room in his home to pursue his interest in photography. He also enjoyed water skiing, sailing, and surfboarding on Lake Michigan and at Lake Maxinkuckee. He had a pair of Hobie Cats that he sailed on the Delaware Bay when he later lived in Wildwood, NJ, where he owned and managed an apartment building near the boardwalk there.

After his divorce, he lived in Chicago and then in Philadelphia with his second wife, Deb. In Philadelphia he ran his own business called Fox Pools, and he also sold Sony products. He was interested in computers even in their early days, and he also sold Seiko products in the 1980s. He believed that technology could help people learn to communicate more effectively, which could improve both business and political leadership. After this short marriage ended, he eventually moved to Bonny Doon, CA, in 2000 to be near his daughter, a teacher at the Santa Cruz Waldorf School. Joe was a member of the Bonny Doon Union School District Board of Trustees, and he was active in community affairs in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties in California. He ran for U.S. House Representative on the Republican ticket in the 2002 general election, but he lost to 14th congressional district incumbent Anna Eshoo. He enjoyed being close to Silicon Valley, and his passion project was to develop a video game based on improving communication skills.

In his later years, he moved back to Indiana and lived with his older brother Don on Geist Reservoir to be near his son, Joe III, daughter-in-law, Erin, and grandsons, Joe IV and Ty Douglas, in Fishers, IN, where he passed away on February 28, 2022. He was very proud to see his name passed on to a fourth Joe Nixon, and he especially enjoyed watching his grandsons grow. He took great interest in seeing his son’s business and real estate endeavors flourish, and he always made sure to tell his children how glad he was that they were born.

Joe was a beloved father, brother, and son who valiantly battled Parkinson’s disease during the last years of his life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Rock Steady Boxing, an organization based in Indianapolis helping people with Parkinson’s disease fight back through exercise, by visiting their website at:

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  1. May each of you find courage to face tomorrow as you rest in the knowledge that we truly care about each of your needs and that we will be here to walk beside you in your journey of grief.

    Eddie Beagles and the staff of Legacy Cremation & Funeral Services

  2. I always found my little brother a challenge and regretted mostly ignoring him for many years when I was away at school and he was still at home. By the time he volunteered to help me in the early 70’s, I was forever grateful and had much respect for activities he undertook with his own unique gusto.

    By the time he decided to return to Indiana from California, I was delighted to invite him to share my condo. Much of the family was skeptical that would work out well. However, by that time, I could rely on understanding he was 100% passionate and predictable.

    If there was any doubt an impasse would arise with a potential negative outcome, it would clearly be my blame and/or fault which was caused by not creating a path for resolution. Seldom was it difficult, although on occasion not, but worth any effort.

    My younger sister once asked me if there were anythings I had done, I could have done better.

    On reflection, what may have been at the top of my list, no regrets with my journey with Joe. I will miss him often. I will be forever glad, I think I had demonstrated to him, and we were aware, we were indeed brothers.

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