ROGER DIED, NOT PASSED AWAY

Roger Nichols, my dearly-loved husband, died 22 days, 13 hours, 1 minute and 3 seconds ago.

Besides the horror of watching his last breath, I remember needing to know the exact time. Roger would care greatly about that. He always had to know the exact time according to GMT, the best time our civilization can concoct. Time was very important to him. He needed to know the exact second our daughters were born; the exact time-code on any song he touched. He even built/designed the Digital Atomics Rubidium Clock.

And, he owned one of the first digital watches, the first digital calculator, the first digital recorder…the first digital anything. He called his company Digital Atomics–a nod to his love of all things digital and his nuclear engineering background. He wanted to name our first daughter Smpte, but I insisted we choose his second choice, a more feminine sounding name, Cimcie.

So, when he took his last breath, I tried to look at the clock in-between the blinding tears and thought I saw 3:23 AM. But the nurse put 3:25 AM on the report and that’s what stuck. Obviously, she didn’t know how fastidious Roger was about this.

With all my overwhelming problems and flattening grief, some might think focusing on the exact time of Roger’s death is a bit silly, but Roger would like for me to correct the mistake.

Another mistake is to think he “passed away.” How insulting to such a larger-than-life guy to insinuate he did anything in a “passing” way. He courageously fought cancer and lost, but only his body died. Nothing about him has passed away.

20 Comments

  1. Our prayers to Roger,Connie … HE is the best man,apart of being one of my gurus in music and engineering business ! And bring to the world a wonderful family to carry on his legacy !

  2. A brilliant inspiration to me. His mastery in the recording arts was unparalleled. He taught me a great deal. There are Steely Dan songs amongst others, through which Roger will forever live in my heart. Good songs made great by the exacting touch that he added. It was Roger that warmed up the cold, binary, digital realm. He understood quantum physics and Unified Field Theory. That plus his humanity transformed recorded music so it could no longer be looked down upon as inferior to analog. Particles of iron moving around on a piece of plastic tape. That was one thing. Coded replications another. But once the Roger Nichols’ DNA went into the mix, there were no equals. And what a mixer! No machinery, no matter how sophisticated it becomes, will ever improve upon the choices made by this musician and all around great guy. Yes. I call him a musician and will stand by that claim. And… Connie… you have so many talents, but a great voice amongst them. May you never stop singing.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to Roger and the relationship between husband and wife. Most people would only hope to have a relationship with a loved one that would allow for the kind of detailed knowledge of the nuances of character and behavior as Connie’s comments demonstrate. These are two people who truly knew each other, and clearly loved each other…how wonderful. I will take with me the exceedingly valuable distinction between dying and passing away. My belief is that Roger’s spirit, his energy, will return soon, if it hasn’t already, and will infuse a new being with a very unique sense of the world and what is required to succeed and contribute while we’re here. I wish the family the best in their recovery, and in the future.

  4. Thank you, Connie. I’m sorry for your loss, Roger was so lucky to have you.

    I could reset my life clock by period using only his productions. That’s amazing enough on it’s face.

    Kindly, and smiling,

    Miles

  5. It’s still hard for me to believe Roger is gone. We may not have talked for a few years, and I would pick up the phone and hear in his usual cadence “so… this is what’s going ” as if he was continuing our last conversation. I had that relationship with no one else.

    There was only one Roger Nichols and I will miss him on a personal level ….and there is only one Roger Nichols I will always celebrate for his unparalleled genius.

    Bobbi

  6. I am so sorry for your family’s loss. I met Roger a couple of times at industry functions and was always amazed at how easy he was to talk to and how generous he was with his vast resource of knowledge. I think of him every time I listen to the wonderful recordings he made and will do so until I die.

    What a wonderful tribute to his science and art. Thank you for your eloquence. No one could have summed up his life more elegantly.

    sincerely,

  7. Hi Connie, growing up in Colorado with a musical ear, I always had an affinity for John Denver. Roger did great work for you… as did you. What beautiful, natural harmony!

    Mark Macy

  8. Growing up in Torrance, Roger lived down the street from me. Evan as a youth, he was a ledgen in our neighorhood.
    He and Don Sciarrotta and Bon Vogt started Quantum Recording Studio. I remember as a youth, stand at the back door of the studio and reading a small plack Roger had placed on the door. IT was a warning not to enter the building because it was protected by radio isotopes and that if accidental entery did occur to go to the UCLA Nuclar Medical Dept. for treatment..
    It was just a sham, but writen with suck teck jargon it scared me for years.Years later when I went to work at Quantum, Roger had moved on, but still droped by for visits and I allways feld honered to be in his company.

  9. I am a columnist on the last page of Brazil’s leading audio magazine because of Roger. I used to read his last page on EQ mag, and that absolutely inspired me to become a writer. Never met you in person, Roger, but you were very important to me. Thank you!

    Enrico De Paoli
    Music Engineer

  10. Dear Connie,

    I was so sorry to hear about the loss of Roger. I am lucky enough to be able to say that I am one of the last producers to have sat along side Roger Nichols at the Hit Factory in Miami in the year 2004 and sit with him all day and record a cd that is truly a masterpiece. Only I would know this. I said to Roger about a song that we were getting ready to record called “Nights are Cold” to think of the song “Easy” By Lionel Richie to get the feel of the song that we were going to record. And he said that “Easy” was one of his favorite songs because it was so simple. It has taken a long time to complete this cd after Roger’s death. There was no one else in my book that could compare to Roger, so finishing it was very difficult for me. It was finally completed in 2011. “Nights are Cold” is one of my favorites, and it should be a hit. I would like to dedicate this song to you and Roger because it is truly a masterpiece, and one of the last songs that Roger engineered. Please listen to it at frankrosaproductions on youtube. God bless.

  11. Hi Connie
    I only just heard of Roger’s death and I instantly felt overwhelmed by sadness. I am a musician who lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and I used to always look forward to Roger’s columns in EQ. It seems strange that the loss of someone I’ve never met could break my heart… but it has. I could always tell from his writing that he was truly a uniquely
    beautiful spirit and I can only imagine your anguish. I hope and pray that you are able to find solace in having been blessed to have had a life together. I would like to share a poem with you that has helped me spiritually in times of grief in hopes that it may provide some measure of peace to you soul.
    Take care
    Mark

    One drop
    Runs down the waxy emerald leaf
    Cradled in its lover’s arms
    My hand out to catch
    It
    Hits instead my wrist
    Out of synch with my pulse
    As though two
    And then one
    Then is gone
    And I can feel you

  12. Thanks to all of you who left stories and kind words! I apologize for not saying so sooner. It’s only now four years later that I feel like I’m somewhat back in my body. And, I may reach out to some of you as we keep compiling home movies and interviews for a documentary about Roger. My heart to yours….

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