The tight-knit agricultural community of Galt came together on Saturday to say good-bye to a friend who embodied the ideal of a loyal and honest family man, according to those who knew him.
Nearly 800 people filled up the Galt High School gymnasium to pay their respects to Nick Nimmo’s family and celebrate his life.
“We have such a strong community here in Galt that so many of us came to pay our respect,” said Josh Harmatz, brother-in-law to Nimmo’s stepson Billy Phillips.
Nimmo passed away on Dec. 22 after a two-year battle with brain cancer.
Nimmo was born in Lodi in 1962 and grew up in Galt. As a child, he watched his grandfather Bruno Rausser work at the family dairy on Liberty Road. By eight years old, Nimmo had decided he wanted to be a truck driver, or a cowboy. Hauling hay is what stuck.
Nimmo played football for Galt High School and graduated in 1980. He set up his hay and feed business that same year, and ran it for 30 years with his family and close friends.
He was well-known for his red pickup truck, which eventually grew into his signature red fleet of hay trucks.
Nimmo raised cattle and sold hay to local ranchers with nine trucks. His prize possession was a ’60s Camaro that he purchased at 16 years old and spent years restoring. It was finally back to pristine condition a few short weeks before his death.
“He was so approachable, with this awesome shy smile. He never met a stranger in his life,” said his wife, Vickie Nimmo.
It was a brain tumor that eventually took his life.
Nimmo was a man in great health. His family was surprised by a seizure Nimmo suffered while driving home from Southern California in February 2010. Within five days, he was in surgery at UC San Francisco Medical Center to operate on a tumor doctors discovered in his brain. Vickie Nimmo said he bounced back from that procedure with great energy, though his son Billy Nimmo began to take a more active role in the company at that time.
“It gave us two more wonderful years with him,” said Vickie Nimmo. Another seizure struck in March 2012 and led to two more surgeries. Nimmo underwent testing every eight weeks to monitor the tumor, but eventually the doctors had nothing else to try.
In September, the family was able to spend five days at Disneyland. Nimmo had long held a dream of taking his two grandchildren to the theme park, and he made it a reality. Three days later, Nimmo and Vickie Nimmo spent a week in Cornell, N.Y., to take part in a clinical trial for a new treatment program. But the treatment didn’t work for Nimmo.
He spent his final days surrounded by his family in Galt. He passed away on Dec. 22 at home.
Dozens of customers who met Nimmo through Nick Nimmo Hay attended the service.
Vickie Nimmo said she is grateful to the growers and farmers who have stuck with the company during this time. Nimmo did ask her to make a few promises at the end of his life.
“He made us promise we would always stay together as a family, no matter what,” she said. “And also, to never paint the trucks anything but red.”
Several speakers noted Nimmo’s firm handshake and honest nature.
“A handshake from Nick was as good as something written down on paper,” said Pastor Tim Stevenson, from Horizon Community Church, who officiated the service.
Vickie Nimmo explained that the handshake was Nimmo’s signature gesture, and he meant it.
“If you shook his hand, you never forgot the honesty and sense of pride that came with it,” said Vickie Nimmo.