John T. Nickel
Owner, Greenleaf Nursery
The John T. Nickel story is that of a work ethic which led to success far beyond anything he could have ever imagined. While in his early twenties, along with a friend, he traveled to California for an adventure. He returned to Oklahoma with an idea that set him on a path beyond his wildest dream. As a result, he developed Greenleaf Nursery in Cherokee County, Oklahoma (on Lake Tenkiller), into a multi-state business. Then, at his brother Gils’s request, he returned to California to participate in the development of vineyards and wineries including Far Niente, in Napa Valley.
As a young lad he enjoyed hiking, fishing, and nature along the Illinois River and dreamed of owning that land one day. Eventually this passion led him to the ownership of the Caney Creek Ranch, the J-5 Ranch, and the donation of 14,000 acres to the Nature Conservancy for a wildlife and nature preserve. To complete the dream, he reintroduced elk to the John T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve.
He was recognized with a Wildlife Stewardship Award by NatureWorks in 2004 and was a recipient of The Nature Conservancy’s first Oak Leaf Award in 2006.
This story actually begins in a small mom-and-pop nursery business in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where John T. Nickel was born.
Interview with John T. Nickel
Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Date Created: February 7, 2018
Date Published: December 13, 2018
Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.
Tags: Semi-trucks, California, Napa Valley, winery, wine, Far Niente Cabernet, John T. Nickel Family Nature and Wildlife Preserve, Greenleaf Nursery, Nature Conservancy