Nicholas Richard Macaluso
1933 - 2013, Santa Barbara
Nick Macaluso, 80, passed peacefully at his home on the morning of November 10, 2013. A loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, he lived a remarkable life, but looked forward to being reunited with his wife Marilyn, who preceded him in death. We wish we could have watched him drive an old car up to the Pearly Gates, smile, and charm his way into Heaven; and we’ve no doubt that he did just that.
Nick was born in Los Angeles, California on July 20, 1933 to Joseph and Catherine Macaluso. He attended local schools and served as an alter boy in his family’s parish. After graduating from Al Hambra High School, Nick attended John Muir Junior College, where he met his future wife, Marilyn Kay Carlson. During their courtship, Nick joined the US Navy, and was stationed on the USS Point Cruz, which patrolled the waters off Korea. While on the ship he was a champion boxer in his weight class. He and Marilyn were married in 1954 and together they had four sons: Joe, Jeff, Jon and Josh.
Nick’s working career began when, as a youngster, he was a shoeshine boy in Union Station. Later, at a time that it seemed everyone smoked but him, Nick worked as a sales rep for Reynolds Tobacco. After that, he found his niche in swimming pool construction, working for Anthony Pools and then Blue Haven Pools (Burbank), before moving his young family to Santa Barbara where he eventually established NR Macaluso Pools and went on to build literally thousands of swimming pools on the Central Coast. Nick’s memory was remarkable, and he could recall the customer and street name of most of the pools he built.
Where others saw adversity, Nick saw opportunity, and, famous for his handshake deals, he had a very long and successful career not only in swimming pool construction, but in other business interests as well. He purchased and developed numerous commercial properties in Goleta and enjoyed the relationships that he had with his tenants, many of whom were ‘startups’ and entrepreneurs whose ideas he invested in. As well, Nick was involved in the building and establishment of the Los Carneros Court Club, and Baltieri’s, Aldo’s (his nickname) and Macaluso’s Italian Restaurants. He was very proud of his heritage and always said, “Everyone wants to be Italian”.
His success in business allowed Nick to pursue his real passion: Cars – especially Classics. During his lifetime, he raced them, restored them, collected them, showed them, and until the very end of his life, enjoyed driving them daily.
Described by one of his physicians as, “My most politically incorrect patient”, Nick spoke his mind but, was a storyteller at heart, and took great pleasure in meeting new people, swapping tales and sharing a good laugh. Oftentimes, he would be laughing so hard, while telling a joke, that he couldn’t get the punch line out.
Nick was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Marilyn, his parents and his sister, Roseanne. He is survived by his sons, Joe (Karen), Jeff (Melanie), Jon (Kim), and Josh (Dani), his grandchildren, Jamie, Jameson, Aidan, Sophia, Jon, Jessica, Justin, Nicholas and Luccia, and his great-grandson, Jett.
“I've lived a life that's full,
I traveled each and ev'ry highway,
And more, much more than this, I did it my way” – Frank Sinatra
An internment service will take place at 11:00 on Friday, December 6th, 2013, Santa Barbara Cemetery.
Memorial donations to: Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.