George Nibler Obituary (1955 – 2022) – Tucson, AZ

George Edward Nibler died on June 14, 2022 at his home in Tucson, Arizona after being diagnosed with metastatic melanoma just four months earlier. George was born on November 7, 1955 in Caldwell, Idaho. He spent most of his early years in Canyon County, but after graduating from Caldwell High, he made a beeline for Southern California and lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the next decade. He was determined to continue his education and started taking classes at LA Valley College, then transferred to UCLA where he earned his bachelor’s degree in geology. With his advisor’s encouragement he applied and was accepted into graduate school at Stanford where he continued his studies and completed a master’s degree. Following grad school he landed a volcanologist’s dream job and worked for a short time for the US Geological Survey at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Returning to Boise, Idaho, George was hired by Morrison Knudsen, and worked as a geochemist on environmental cleanup projects throughout the US

Even after he had finished his formal education, George had a perpetually curious mind and a lifelong desire to learn new things. But he didn’t accumulate knowledge just for himself – a big part of his enjoyment in learning was sharing his discoveries with other people. His hiking companions would inevitably receive a geology lesson about the local terrain and would often get a pop quiz on what had just been pointed out to them. He learned the names of plants, trees, birds, animals, and insects. He collected seeds and pressed flowers between the pages of whatever nature book he happened to be reading at the time. His pack was usually weighed down with interesting rocks, which he would give away to friends or bring home to decorate his house and garden. He loved every aspect of the natural world and all the ways it could be experienced – hiking, backpacking, camping, biking, river rafting, canoeing, and snorkeling. Whenever he saw a bird or an animal he was as thrilled as if he were seeing it for the first time. His love of animals of course included his dogs, who were his almost constant companions and a huge part of his life.

A skilled builder and mechanic, George’s building legacy includes the house he designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright and then built himself in the desert between Boise and Mountain Home; and a house in Volcano Village on Hawaii’s Big Island, which he also built almost entirely by himself from a Pan Abode kit. He also designed and helped build his brother’s home at Wilderness Ranch, between Boise and Idaho City, as well as numerous sheds, shops, garages, patios, and greenhouses. He could fix anything fixable with the tools and equipment he had in his home shop, including household appliances and furniture, bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. He did his own plumbing, electrical work, welding, and millwork. And when he wasn’t fixing something functional, he was turning it into yard art.

Music, especially rock music, was as vital to George as air and water. He had an extensive collection of vinyl (painstakingly re-collected after hundreds of albums were stolen in Southern California). His love of music inspired him to put together high-end stereo systems including turntables, amps, speakers, and CD and cassette players, all wired and carefully positioned for optimum listening. His digital music library included thousands of songs. George also loved live music and had been to scores of concerts in large and small venues. Whether it was a local or a big name band, George loved to be right in front of the stage whenever he could so he could experience the full wall of sound and watch the musicians.

Having a shop or at least some kind of project space was always a top priority for George so that he could work on the many projects he always had going simultaneously. He designed and built his shop at home in Tucson to have everything just the way he wanted it. He decorated the walls with an eclectic collection of “shop art” including album covers, movie posters, illustrations from magazines and calendars, photographs, bicycle frames, circuit boards, refurbished stage lights, model dinosaurs, and other souvenirs. He soundproofed the walls so that he could listen to music as loud as he wanted or practice his guitar without disturbing the neighbors.

No one could completely describe George without including his passion for mountain biking. Among all the work benches, stereo equipment, telescopes, and tool cabinets, his shop was jammed with bikes and bike components, along with every tool that could possibly be used to build, deconstruct, and rebuild any kind of bicycle. Over the years George went on dozens of mountain biking trips with friends throughout Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Arizona but he was also just as happy to bike solo as long as he could be out on the trail.

Above all else, George had a sense of humor about life and about himself. He found absurdity in all kinds of situations, particularly if he thought people were taking themselves too seriously. He loved life and appreciated every day no matter where he was or what it had in store for him.

George was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara (Bobbie) Bergin Nibler, and his father, William (Bill) Nibler. He leaves his wife Rebecca Mirsky, first wife Andrea Blum, siblings – Sherry Irish, Susan Beitia, Bill Nibler, and Rosemary Nibler; aunt Betty Nibler, and many nieces and nephews. For those who may be interested in supporting an organization George cared deeply about, please consider making a donation to the Western Watersheds Project at www.westernwatersheds.org.

George – we had to let you hike on ahead to find the perfect campsite. Make sure the beer is cold when we catch up to you. You were the best big brother ever.

Published by Legacy Remembers on Sep. 2, 2022.

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