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Posted on November 27, 2013 | 3:47 p.m.

Nicholas Macaluso of Santa Barbara, 1933-2013

Source: Josh Macaluso

Nick Macaluso, 80, passed peacefully at his home on the morning of Nov. 10, 2013.

Nick Macaluso
Nick Macaluso

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, Calif., 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 La Hambra High School, Nick attended John Muir Junior College, where he met his future wife, Marilyn Kay Carlson.

During their courtship, Nick joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the U.S. 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 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6 at Santa Barbara Cemetery.

Memorial donations can be made to the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara.

 

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