MANCHESTER - Longtime New Hampshire attorney and civic leader David Nixon, former president of the state Senate who was honored earlier this year with a Granite State Legacy award, died Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 82.
Leslie Nixon, his daughter and a partner in firm Nixon, Raiche, Vogelman, Barry & Slawsky, said her father had not been well since breaking a hip in September when he fell during a legal conference in South Carolina.
"He loved New Hampshire. He loved practicing law. He was a lawyer right up until the day he died and he was very proud of that," she said. "He also loved politics and was very, very concerned about New Hampshire and its future and the future of the country. One thing I'm sure he'd want me to say is 'don't forget to get out and vote Tuesday.'"
Leslie Nixon said her father had been battling a form of bone marrow cancer since last August. He died at Mount Carmel Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where he had been transferred from Elliot Hospital on Friday. An Army veteran who attended college on the GI Bill, Nixon had also been treated at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Manchester.
"He was treated very well at VA Medical Center. They could not have been better," Leslie Nixon said. "Our family would like to thank all of the caregivers, doctors and staff that took care of him."
Nixon had been practicing as an attorney since graduating from the University of Michigan law school in 1958. He was the longtime town moderator and town counsel for New Boston and was elected to the New Hampshire House in 1968. He later moved to the Senate and was elected president of the body after just two years.
Nixon also made a bid for governor, challenging Meldrim Thomson in the 1974 Republican primary. Nixon recalled the campaign during an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader in May before receiving Granite State Legacy honor. He said he spent much of the campaign noting he was no relation to former President Richard Nixon, who resigned earlier that year.
David Nixon did not return to political office until he was elected to the New Hampshire House in 2008, serving one more term.
"He was committed to helping his fellow citizens and exemplified New Hampshire's tradition of public service," Gov. Maggie Hassan said. "We will miss his fighting spirit, humor and kindness, and join Granite Staters in mourning his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with David's family and loved ones."
Former governor and current U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen also offered her condolences in one of several statements state leaders released after learning of Nixon's death.
"Dave was a dear friend whose love for New Hampshire was evident in everything he did. I appreciated his counsel over the years and all of his dedicated service for our veterans," Shaheen said.
U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., said Nixon was "truly a wonderful human being and public servant. He respected and cared about all of the people and about our great state, and he spent his life in service to others."
Nixon also helped lead the efforts to raise $500,000 for the city to build the William B. Cashin Senior Center and was a founding member of the Joe Yukica-New Hampshire chapter of the National Football Foundation.
Leslie Nixon said funeral arrangements were pending.