Two Local Men Die In Camper On Hunting Trip

October 23, 1969

A hunting trip to the West ended in tragedy last week when two Sykesville area men were asphyxiated as they slept in their camper parked near a service station in Casper, Wyoming.

Michael J. Nickoles, 56, well known construction contractor and developer, who lived on Mineral Hill road, and Allen L. Edmondson, 23, carpenter with a local building firm, who resided on Klee’s Mill Road, were found dead in their sleeping bags, apparently the victims of carbon monoxide from a gas heater and lack of oxygen in the closed vehicle.

They are believed to have died the night of Sunday, Oct. 12. Earlier that evening Mr. Nickoles had telephoned home and talked to his wife. The tragedy was not discovered until Friday, when a service station attendant who had given the hunters permission to park the camper back of the station overnight, became concerned when the vehicle was still there five days later, and investigated.

The weather was cold in Wyoming and a portable propane burner was used to heat the camper. The coroner’s office of Natrona County attributed the deaths to carbon monoxide poisoning and lack of oxygen.

Traveling in a fully-equipped Volkswagen camper, the two local men left Sykesville early Thursday morning, Oct. 9, on the ill-fated hunting trip.

They were scheduled to meet Mr. and Mrs. John W. Williams, also of Sykesville, in Yellowstone National Park, and then proceed to Elk City, Idaho.

Other members of the hinting party included T.R. “Tom” O’Farrell, Westminster, and Harry Shaffer, Hampstead, who traveled by plane, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Mielke, Sykesville, who turned back after their vehicle developed mechanical trouble.

An experienced big game hunter, Mr. Nickoles was one of the owners of Modern Buildings, Inc. Mr. Edmondson was a carpenter with the firm, headed by President John W. WIlliams. Mr. Nickoles also had oil and gas holdings in Oklahoma, Colorado, and Canada.

Largely attended funeral services for the two men were held Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Following prayers at the Haight funeral home, at 10:30 a.m., a xxxxx mass for Mr. Nickoles  was offered at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, near Eldersburg, by the pastor, Father John Snyder. Palbearers were George Dulaney, Jack Feezer, Eckart Smick, A.P. Feeney, Earl Carter, Lee Miller, William Handley and Carl Mielke.

Funeral services for Mr. Edmondson were held at Haight establishment at 2 p.m. The Rev. Albert C. Burton pastor of St. James United Methodist Church, near West Friendship, officiated.

Both men were buried in Lake View Memorial Park. Mr. Nickoles was a member of St. Joseph’s Church and was charter member of the Mineral Hill Sportsmen’s Club.

He was a son of Charles A. Nickoles, Randallstown, and the late Mrs. Myrtle Merryman Nickoles, and was the husband of Mrs. Gertrude E. Nickoles, In addition to his wife and father, he survived by two daughters, Mrs. Dolores Wallace, Pikesville, and Miss Virginia L. Nickoles, Sykesville; and three sons, James E., Raymond and Leonard F. Nickoles, all of Sykesville.

He also leaves three sisters, Mrs. Marie Devilbiss, Randallstown; Mrs. Margaret Lee and Mrs.Florence Munshower, Sykesville; a brother, Viktor Nickoles, Sykesville, and three grandchildren.

Mr. Edmondson is survived by his parents, Charles R. and Nellie Rich Edmondson, Sykesville; two sisters, Mrs. Rose Poole, Woodbine, and Mrs. Betty Crites, Sykesville, and two brothers Charles Edmondson, Hr., Westminster, and Clarence H. Edmondson, Sykesville.

He was a 1964 graduate of Sykesville High School. Ironically, his school yearbook noted: “He loves to hunt.”

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