Nicholas N. Daniloff obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Nicholas N. Daniloff

December 10, 1926 - June 3, 2011

Obituary


Nicholas Daniloff, 84, of Sarasota died June 3, 2011.
Long time Milwaukee, WI and Sarasota, FL resident Nick Daniloff died peacefully on June 3, 2011 in Sarasota. Nick was born in France in 1927, but the events that would help shape his life occurred during the WWII German occupation of his hometown of Moisnenay-le-Grand. In January, 1944, while returning home from school, Nick helped rescue a downed American flyer named William Spellman of Jeffersonville, IN. Spellman was a radio operator/gunner on a B-24 that was shot down nearby. The wounded Spellman had just escaped from...

Nicholas Daniloff, 84, of Sarasota died June 3, 2011.
Long time Milwaukee, WI and Sarasota, FL resident Nick Daniloff died peacefully on June 3, 2011 in Sarasota. Nick was born in France in 1927, but the events that would help shape his life occurred during the WWII German occupation of his hometown of Moisnenay-le-Grand. In January, 1944, while returning home from school, Nick helped rescue a downed American flyer named William Spellman of Jeffersonville, IN. Spellman was a radio operator/gunner on a B-24 that was shot down nearby. The wounded Spellman had just escaped from the Germans and saw Nick coming down the road with a loaf of bread. The hungry American tried to jump the plucky Frenchman, but after a few moments, Nick was able to convince him that not only was he a friend, but that there were German troops everywhere around them. The Daniloff family helped hide the pilot from the Nazi troops in Moisenay, and helped get Spellman to members of the French Underground who later assisted his escape from occupied France to Spain, and later London.

Shortly after D-Day, Moisnay was liberated by the American troops, and word of Nick's rescue of the American flyer drew the attention of the Army. Nick had learned Russian from his parents who escaped from Russia after the Revolution, and he also spoke French, German, English and some Baltic languages. After learning that of his language skills, Nick was 'drafted' into the US Army, Battery B, 203rd Anti-Aircraft Battalion of General Patton's 7th Armored Division. Nick served from August 27, 1944 to May 8, 1945 and was an interpreter for captured prisoners of war, and while on recall was also part of several special ops missions into Germany. For his efforts, he was awarded France's Medal of Verdun, and the country's highest military honor, the Croix de Guerre. His name is inscribed on the WWII Monument in Verdun.

On March 12, 1947, Nick was one of the youngest recipients to receive the American Presidential Medal of Freedom for WWII. The award was signed by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower on behalf of President Harry Truman. It read "The President of the United States has directed me to express to Nick Daniloff the gratitude and appreciation of the American people for gallant service in assisting the escape of Allied soldiers from the enemy."

Nick continued serving until the 7AD left Germany for the US in September 1945. Of his service, Maj. Charles W. New, 7AD Intelligence Officer wrote "This letter is being composed for a dual purpose--commendation and recommendation" and continued to praise Nick's efforts during days of combat in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. " Nick can be seen in several scenes of the PBS war documentary "The World At War", processing German POWs. His war stories were featured in The Milwaukee Journal on the Veteran's Day issue in 1966, and he was instrumental in bringing the 7AD National Reunion to Milwaukee in 1967.

Nick's journey to America began on August 10, 1948 on a boat from Le Havre, France to Southhampton, and from there to Cork Ireland. From Cork, he departed for New York, arriving at Long Island, where he was processed by customs on-board the boat on August 19th. He moved to Milwaukee, WI, where he remained a long-time resident. Nick worked for the Milwaukee Post Office for 21 years, rising to Foreman and Operations Analyst. He met Ester Nitka of Stevens Point, Wi, and in 1952, they married. They raised three children, Debi, Claudia and Marc.

He relocated to Sarasota, FL, in 1976, where he later was married to Ludmilla Domanova and worked for the USPS and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Throughout his life, Nick was an accomplished musician and arranger. He sang and directed choirs in Milwaukee and Sarasota. Though he was permanently paralyzed in a motorcycle accident in the 1990's, his spirits and sense of humor were always present. Nick spent the last several years under the care of the staff at Beneva Lakes Health & Rehab Center, and during the last few monthsd, received wonderful care from Tidewell Hospice, a local non-profit hospice operation in Sarasota. Nick is survived by his sister, Eugenia (Erich) Mussak of Shorewood, WI; his brother Serge (Maggie) Daniloff of London, Ontario; two daughters, Debi (Don) Shannon of Stevens Point, WI; Claudia (Christian) Gorder of Adams, step-daughter Luba of Washington, DC., son Marc (Diane) Daniloff of Saukville, WI,, and six grandchildren Bryon Shannon, Caitlin Shannon, Nathan Russell, Melinda Russell, Eva , Audra Daniloff and many nieces and nephews in Wisconsin and Canada. Nick was preceded in death by his parents, wife Ester, and his sister Olga Borowoy.

Also there was thanks to all the wonderful people who gave blood and platelets to him in the 70s when he was stricken with aplastic anemia...


Arrangements under the direction of Palms - Robarts Funeral Home & Memorial Park, Sarasota, FL.