Nicholas J. “Nick” Braico, age 76, of Huntley (formerly a 50-year resident of the Dundee area) passed away suddenly in the comfort of his home on Friday morning, April 28, 2023. Nick was born in Chicago on February 27, 1947 and was the son of the late Louis and Helen (née Kratowicz) Braico.
Nick grew up in downtown Chicago as part of a large Italian-Polish family, whose adventures he affectionately shared in entertaining stories. He had a deep sonorous voice and a big laugh, infusing each telling with joy and humor.
Nick was a good student, graduating from Lane Tech High School and studying chemistry at the University of Illinois Chicago and Judson College. He was innately good at math and had a knack for engineering. He could figure out how to make just about anything and often helped his family members with construction projects large and small, from electrical fixes to designing and building an attached garage. Among his projects were a self-rocking cradle and the Marvelous Truth Machine. For his young grandchildren, he constructed wooden playhouses complete with covered porches. He was generous with his time and would always make himself available to help.
Nick was a kind and loving man who was liked and respected wherever he went. He undertook extensive renovations on a home near Lake Geneva WI, going so far as to engineer raising the roof. His DIY abilities even astonished his new neighbors, who set up lawn chairs to watch. They quickly befriended him and even chipped in to help.
While it’s enough for most people to claim one long and happy marriage, Nick enjoyed two. He married Barbara Mertes in 1967 and together raised two sons Mike and Bob. She passed away in 1987, leaving Nick to care for two teenaged boys while juggling his full-time business. Although it was a difficult time, he was fully committed to being present for his sons and further cemented his loving and supportive relationship with both of them.
He met his second wife, Barbara (Bobbi) McCoy, at a grief support group. They married in 1995 and combined their two growing families. Together, they boasted four sons and daughters-in-law, and 10 extraordinary grandchildren. He became close with Bobbi’s large family.
Nick was entirely devoted to his (now quite large) family. He traveled coast to coast, from California to New Hampshire and places in between, to spend time with his children and grandchildren, and would quickly drop everything and travel whenever one of his kids needed his steady presence and support. He and Bobbi divided their time between their homes in Huntley, IL and Hampstead, NH so they could enjoy extended time with their families there.
As well as being a skilled builder and all-around handyman, Nick was a talented musician with a special gift for the guitar. Although he could read music, he generally played by ear and could quickly strum the melody and harmony of any song you threw at him. He loved teaching and playing guitar with his children and grandchildren. His idea of a perfect evening was to gather everyone around, Nick on guitar and Bobbi on piano, with children and grandchildren all comprising an ad hoc chorus singing show tunes and old-time favorites. Any off-key notes were entirely offset by enthusiasm. As the grandchildren grew older, they joined this homespun orchestra on instruments of their own.
Nick was an avid boater keeping boats on the Fox river and later on Lake Geneva. His children and grandchildren all carry memories of fishing at Lake Geneva on Grandpa’s boat, where he patiently helped them bait their hooks and celebrated every 4” bluegill they reeled in.
Nick owned two businesses during his career. He founded Dunvale Corporation, manufacturing dental X-ray supplies. Always an innovator, Nick held a number of dental patents. He sold Dunvale in 1995 and opened Sign Depot in West Dundee, where he manufactured and installed signage for local businesses. As with so many things, he entered this new venture with a quiet confidence, trusting his ability to learn and practice a new trade. His wife, Bobbi, often helped out by hand-painting the signs.
Nick was a longtime congregant at St. James Episcopal Church in West Dundee. For many years, he was a member of the Dundee Jaycees. He and Bobbi also served as regular volunteers at the food pantry in Carpentersville for several years.
Nick is survived by his beloved wife of 28 years Barbara “Bobbi” McCoy Braico; his sons Robert and wife Cheryl Braico, and Michael Braico; his stepsons, Kristian McCoy and wife Lisa Burk-McCoy, and Jeffrey and wife Tina McCoy. He also leaves behind the 10 grandchildren he and Bobbi shared, all whom he loved and was very proud: Adrienne, Isabel, Dominick, Trevor, and Tiki Braico; Jake, James, and Jon McCoy; and Ethan and Hannah Burk-McCoy, along with Hannah’s fiancé Matthew Irving. Other survivors include his brother, Robert; many nieces, nephews; and countless good and faithful friends. He remains deeply loved and will be missed by all. In addition to his parents, Nick was preceded in death by his wife of 19 years Barbara J. Mertes Braico on March 9, 1987.
Visitation will be held at Miller Funeral Home in West Dundee on Thursday, May 4, 2023, from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Family and friends will meet for Funeral Services at St. James Episcopal Church 516 Washington Street (corner of 6th & Washington Streets) in West Dundee at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 5, 2023. The Rev. Don Frye, Rector will officiate. Burial will follow at the Dundee Township East Cemetery in East Dundee. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Nick’s memory to St. James Episcopal Church, 516 Washington Street, West Dundee, IL 60118. To leave an online condolence, please visit www.millerfuneralhomedundee.com. For information, please call 847-426-3436.