Obituary: Nikolaus Hermann Brinkama

The life and times of Nikolaus Hermann Brinkama, son of August Ludwig and Katja Brinkama, came to a conclusion on May 10, 2018.

Born on Bastille Day, July 14, 1928, Nikolaus was born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. In 1953 he packed his bags and headed for new adventures, traveling on a banana freighter to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he worked in the import/export business.

Two years later he made his way to San Francisco, where he met Susan H. Bourne. They were married in 1957 in North Cornwall, Connecticut. In 1959 their first daughter, Bettina, was born. A 1960 move to Los Angeles brought United States citizenship for Mr. Brinkama. In 1962, a second daughter Susie was born, followed by a move to Claremont. Still another daughter, Elizabeth, was born in 1965.

Mr. Brinkama played endless rounds of golf and tennis as a member of the Glendora Country Club, skat at the German Club, and bridge with members of the Claremont Presbyterian Church “Jollyboys.”

He was a sailing enthusiast, enjoyed playing German Parcheesi with his daughters and earned a reputation as a renowned ping-pong player with his many nieces and nephews. Conversant in three languages, he was an avid reader, a trait he passed along to his daughters and grandchildren. In addition, he worked for Willamette Industries (Weyerhauser) for 27 years.

His brother, Eduard Brinkama of Hamburg, and his daughter, Bettina, who died in 1964, predeceased him.

He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Susan B. Brinkama; daughters, Susan H. Brinkama (R. Aaron Whitham) of Claremont, and Elizabeth T. Brinkama (Sean P. Sullivan) of Takoma Park, Maryland; two grandchildren, Katja Brinkama Whitham and Benjamin Bourne Whitham of Claremont; and two generations of nieces and nephews in Hamburg and the United States.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 2 at Claremont Presbyterian Church, 1111 N. Mountain Ave. Burial will be beside his daughter, Bettina, at North Cornwall Cemetery in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations that impacted the last 10 years of his life: AbilityFirst adult aquatic exercises at or 480 S. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont, CA 91711; Casa Colina Hospital adult day health care at or 255 E. Bonita Ave., Pomona, CA 91769; Community Senior Services Enrichment Center adult day program at or 141 Spring St., Claremont, CA 91711; or VNA Hospice and Palliative Care of Southern California at or 555 N. Benson Ave., Suite D, Upland, CA 91786.


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