Nick was born in China (probably Manchuria) to Russian parents in 1911. He had some early lessons in English at the YMCA in Harbin. The family immigrated to Canada to take up land from the CPR in 1924 and settled originally in the Ponoka area. Nick apprenticed to a butcher and learned English from the butcher’s wife.
The family moved to Spirit River and Nick followed in 1928, finding work with a butcher. He moved to Peace River in 1930 to manage a meat market. There he met Elda Searle, a teacher, and they were married in August, 1932. This was followed by a move to Beaverlodge where Nick opened a butcher shop. Their son, Jack was born in 1936. In 1939, Elda became sick and passed away. This eventually led to Nick selling the business, taking his son to his sister-in-law in Trail, and then enlisting in the Air Force in Calgary (1940 or 1941).
Nick was posted overseas in England, Belgium, France, Holland, Germany and Denmark. He was commissioned overseas and worked as an interpreter for the Russian Air Force, the RAF and the RCAF. Nick claims to have spoken seven languages including Cree. He was discharged when he returned to Canada in 1946.
Nick returned to Beaverlodge where he again opened a butcher shop. He married Eleanor Jarvis in 1947 and had four more children.
Source: Beaverlodge to the Rockies, p.221