Nick Pete Apple
November 27, 1930 – July 30, 2020
Nick Pete Apple November 27, 1930 – July 30, 2020
Nick Apple, Centerville, passed away July 30, 2020. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Joanne, son Steven Apple (Rebecca), daughter Tracy Freeman (Scott) and sister Eva Martinis (John).
Nick’s parents, Tony and Gizela, immigrated from Yugoslavia. Since Croatian was the household language, young Nick failed the first grade because he couldn’t speak English. He worked hard on his English and succeeded in school. Nick went on to receive a full-tuition scholarship in journalism from the University of Southern California.
As a high school senior he worked at the San Pedro News-Pilot as a reporter and remained at the daily newspaper until entering active duty.
Before joining the Air Force in 1955, Nick earned degrees cum laude in journalism and political science from USC. In 1968, the Air Force sent him back to USC for his Master of Arts in journalism.
While at USC he ran track, where he competed in Olympic trials, was the associate editor of the Daily Trojan campus newspaper, and worked part time on Time magazine’s production staff. While on campus, Nick met his future wife, Joanne Wilkin.
His 25-year Air Force career, mostly as a public affairs officer, included six and a half years at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in the 1970s. While at Wright-Patterson, Nick co-authored The Air Force Museum book in his spare time which continues to be a money-maker for the museum.
In 1962 he was sent to West New Guinea to file daily news releases on the United States Air Force support for the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority after the Indonesian attack on the then Dutch-controlled islands. At the last moment, President Kennedy ordered Nick’s reports to be classified secret. A meaningful moment came in 1973 while the Department of Defense public affairs project officer at Wright-Patterson. Nick led “Operation Homecoming” and the return of thirty Air Force personnel to the base from POW prisons in North Vietnam.
Nick’s Air Force assignments included Taiwan, Thailand, Florida, Alabama, Rhode Island, Virginia, Ohio, and California.
Upon retiring from the Air Force in 1981, he and Joanne returned to their native southern California, settling in San Diego. Nick’s volunteer activities there included serving on the board of directors of the International Aerospace Hall of Fame. In 1986, Nick left his position as executive director of the San Diego Hall of Champions sports museum. He and Joanne returned to the Dayton, Ohio area.
Settling in Beavercreek, he became executive director of the Greene County Easter Seals Society, member of Xenia Rotary and later Beavercreek Rotary, and a charter member of the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival planning committee. From late 1988 to early 1994, Apple was employed by the National Museum of the United States Air Force, retiring as chief of the operations division. He then joined the museum’s corps of volunteers.
Apple’s other activities in retirement included serving on the Wright State University Friends of the Libraries’ board of directors, publishing the final three editions of The Air Force Museum book, advising the Dayton Area Sports History Association, and advising the staff of the Malaga Airport Museum in Spain. He also was a member of the Military Officers’ Association of America, Friends of the Air Force Museum, Aviation Trail, Western Shaker Study Group and the South Slavic Club of Dayton. Nick also was an Eagle Scout and United States Boy Scout district commissioner 1970-1971 in Thailand.