Nicholas Bassel

Obituary of Nicholas Bassel

Nicholas Bassel (Nikos) passed away peacefully in his favorite chair on October 18, 2023, surrounded by his family.

Nikos “the Magnificen” lived his 87 years to the fullest and, left with no regrets. He lived up to his mantra that “Life is not a dress rehearsal”.

Nick was born on May 10, 1936 in Toronto, Ontario. He discovered his talent for music early in life, and, although he resisted it at first, grew up to be a famous crowd-rousing rock musician playing the bass, violin and theremin. His bands, including The Impacs, The Jaycats, and The MoneyMakers, toured North America in the late 50s and 60s, playing sold-out shows and celebrated by the crowds for their lively stage presence. After many great (mis)adventures, he realized that life on the road was not a long-term prospect, and he moved on from the fast life of seedy hotels, fanatical fans, and junk food to pursue his education.

Nick obtained his degree in electrical engineering from Michigan State University in 1970. After graduation, Nick returned to Canada and secured a job as a sales associate at Hewlett Packard, where, due to his technical expertise and winning personality, he became the best salesman in company history, all the while maintaining an impeccable reputation for honesty and customer service. Nick was a mad scientist by nature and loved inventing systems and gadgets (like the automatic hammock rocker, self-closing cupboards, and booby traps in the backyard). Although none of his inventions were patented, they made life interesting around the Bassel household. Whenever Nick made a clever solution to solve a mundane problem, like opening a jar or keeping the lights off, he would inevitably exclaim: “I knew that engineering degree would come in handy!”

Nikos was a sworn bachelor for life until the age of 36 when he met Martha Schoutsen, with whom he fell deeply in love. When he realized that he couldn’t live without her, he proposed (during the climax of Handel's Messiah). He always said this was the best decision he ever made. They moved to Houghton Lake, Michigan where, following his family tradition (his father owned Bassel’s of Toronto), Nick bought a restaurant. Together, Nick and Martha ran ‘The Pick-Wick House’ for 7 years. The family ultimately moved back to Canada in 1982 after the CEO of Hewlett Packard showed up at the restaurant and personally asked Nick to come back. 

Nick and Martha produced four children who became the light of Nick’s life, and a source of boundless pride. The fatherhood years were not as adventurous, but were, in his words, the best in his life. Nick loved his family and made many wholesome memories raising his children and grandchildren alongside of the love of his life. He applied his engineering skills to building a backyard playground that included a seesaw, merry go-round, and zip-line, among other amusements. He opened his heart and home to his children’s friends. Some of his favorite memories including chaperoning school trips, cottage vacations, dinners with family and friends, and trips to the swamp.

Nick was a big-hearted man, and always wanted to help the less fortunate. In retirement, he made a difference to many people by restoring older medical equipment, including numerous heart monitors, and sending them to hospitals in developing countries. He also volunteered at the local hospital and brightened the day for countless patients. He was an activist his whole life and promoted social justice by participating in political rallies, and by yelling at the TV whenever Fox News came on.  

He spent the latter part of his life enjoying the great friendships he made through his charity work, jam sessions, kids, and his beautiful wife Martha. 

He will always be remembered for his funny sayings, eccentricities, and crazy stories from his youth, and we will miss his fudge, toe cracking, sweet gestures, humour, music, and constant unsolicited concern and protectiveness. We hope Nick gets his lifelong wish: “In the next life, I want to be born rich instead of good looking!”

Nick is survived by his loving wife Martha, their four children and their spouses, Laura (Chris Good), Christina, Margaret (Sjoerd Bos), and Steven (Irma Santoso), and six grandchildren Cassie, Simone, Penelope, Nolan, Liam, and Alexis.

To honor Nick’s wishes there will be no funeral or celebration of life, but the family would appreciate others sharing their memories of Nick on this page.   He will be cremated at Woodland Cemetery.

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