WIFE OF DROSTEN, GEORGE E
PFC US ARMY
Nicolasita Angela Drosten
October 2, 1917 - October 1, 2018
Nickie Rivera was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the oldest of seven children. Nickie graduated from Loretto Academy. After graduation Nickie had interesting jobs as secretary with the Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico; secretary with Ernest Thompson Seton, a naturalist and writer of Children’s animal books. A few months before Pearl Harbor, Nickie was offered a Civil Service Job in Washington, D.C. She passed the exam and since she was bilingual, she was sent to the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. The coordinator was Nelson Rockefeller. Later Nickie was transferred to the Department of Agriculture where she remembered corresponding with Colombia on the subject of Quinine, necessary for Malaria prevention. She remembers walking past the White House every day on her way to work. After Pearl Harbor, the war efforts were accelerated and some government agencies that were not directly connected with the war were moved to other cities. Nickie accepted a job with the Rural Electrification Administration as a bi-lingual secretary in St. Louis, Missouri where she met her husband, George Erhart Drosten.
George had to forego his desire to study Architecture because of the Depression. George studied Business Administration and graduated from St. Louis University before being drafted into the Armed Forces, Yankee Division. Nickie’s Latin American Program of the REA was cancelled and she went home to Santa Fe.
Nickie and George were engaged at this time and as soon as George was able to get leave they were married in St. Louis, Missouri on December 8, 1943. George was sent to France, Germany and later the Philippines. During this time Nickie went back home to Santa Fe where their daughter Carmela was born. Having said goodbye to their families, they drove to Galveston, Texas, where they left their Plymouth to be shipped to Barranquilla along with a refrigerator.
Their arrival in Barranquilla was a culture shock for Nickie. So, they traveled to Bogota, Medellin and Cali. Like the story of the Three Bears, Bogota was too cold for George and Medellin too provincial, so he chose Cali. When the car arrived, they set off for Cali. Their first lap was a boat trip on the Magdalena River, with their car on a barge behind the boat. It took them two weeks to get from Barranquilla to La Dorada port, where they continued their trip by land to Bogota. They arrived to their final destination, Cali. Gradually they became acquainted with the Colombian people and many foreigners who were very helpful and friendly.
Seven years later, George Edward was born. George did puppet shows with his brother, John for children’s birthday parties. He later studied Architecture at the University of El Valle and later finished his education and started a career as an artist in Boston, Massachusetts. John is our youngest member of the family. He’s a successful business-man with a big heart. He’s the one who asked Mom to come to live in Jacksonville after our father, George, died.
On a lighter note, Nickie liked to sing and she was a member of the St. Francis Cathedral Choir. She loved Spanish dancing and took part in the Santa Fe Fiesta’s every year. In Cali, Nickie was a secretary for the American Women’s Club. Nickie was an active member of the Resurrection Catholic Church in Jacksonville for the last fifteen years, Mom was sad when her illness did not allow her to return to church, and grateful for the Communion given to her at home by a Eucharistic minister.
Things special in her life include, keeping the memory alive of her late brother priest and pastor of the Cathedral of Santa Fe, Fr. Reynaldo Rivera whose murder is still an unsolved mystery. For Nickie, he was the most important source of spiritual guidance in her family. Mom was an excellent cook and she learned to adapt many recipes for our family gatherings. Nickie and George befriended many American missionary priests who visited poor people in Cali and they became like family to those priests. They became part of an Ecumenical group that studied the Bible and later they became the choir for George’s funeral Mass in Cali. Mom was known for her order and diligence even when going on picnics, she was a great organizer. Both mother and Dad were known to frequently visit their sick friends in the hospital.
Nickie and George traveled widely in Colombia with their children and later they went to Europe and the U.S. to visit family. One significant trip was a pilgrimage to Bogota, Colombia to welcome Pope John Paul II. They enjoyed the festivities of the Spanish Club and would always attend the art openings for the Colombo Americano.
The things that helped her get to 100 years old are her strong faith, she prayed daily, and her sense of order. She was meticulous on being organized. Mother had a great spirit of adventure and a strong sense of identity and family. Our cousin, Angela, who lives in Jacksonville, has been a great help to Mom.
Nickie and George had three children: Carmela, George Edward and John Drosten. Her grandchildren include Justin and Kayla Drosten and Peter, Tina and Andrea D’Elia. The grandchildren in Jacksonville are: Lyah, Brax and Pace. In Massachusetts: Aden, David and Dean.
Her great-grandmother was her beloved Carmelita Ortiz or mamita as she was called, and her great grandfather was Francisco Ortiz. Her Mother was Refugito Rivera and her father was Juan Rivera.
Her late siblings were Isabel Abeyta, Ernestine Wright, Father Reynaldo Rivera, Frances Webb and Fred Rivera. Mom is survived by her sister, Josephine Sullivan.
Her husband, George E. Drosten was born in St. Louis, Missouri of German-American heritage. He attended Soldan High School and St. Louis University. He took part in the men’s choir and theatre productions. George graduated with a Business Administration degree. Both enjoyed going to the opera. George remembered fondly visiting Heidelberg, Germany where the music for the Student Prince was written. Later, in our family gatherings in Cali, Dad entertained us with his tenor voice singing songs from the Student Prince.
The family was fortunate to have celebrated Mom’s 100 birthday last year with close to 100 family members attending the festivities.
Funeral Service will take place at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 20th at the Resurrection Catholic Church 3383 University Boulevard North in Jacksonville, Florida. Father Peter Akin-Otiko will be the celebrant.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to her favorite church, Resurrection Catholic Church or the Community Hospice at St. Vincent Hospital.
Arlington Park Funeral Home
George Ehrhard Drosten
Sponsored by Ancestry