Nikki began her working career as a flight attendant for Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). Displaying intelligence as sharp as her wit she steadily rose up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming Director of Reservations for PSA. Along the way, she was manager of flight attendant training, director of in-flight customer services and manager of station customer services in Los Angeles.
After her husband, Doug Arthur, was tragically killed in a plane crash, Nikki’s life took a different path. She left PSA to raise her two children as a single parent and she took up the cause of charitable organizations for children in San Diego. This included the La Playa Unit of Children’s Hospital Auxiliary and Voices for Children, where she served on the Board of Directors from 2001-2004.
In 1996, Nikki and her two co-chairs, Mary Foy and Marilyn Cornwell, organized the first ‘Celebration of Champions’ for Rady Children’s Hospital. At this event, children battling cancer escape from the hospital to enjoy a day of sunshine, face paint, games and a run with “The Torch of Life” accompanied by their families, sponsors and celebrities. For their efforts, Nikki and her two co-chairs were honored by the Children’s Hospital Auxiliary with the first Mabel Jessop Spirit Award. Celebration has raised over $9M for Rady Children’s Hospital since inception.
In July 2004, Nikki was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer. She fought this disease with the same determination that served her well in her two careers. She endured surgery and chemotherapy before succumbing to this cancer on Mother’s Day 2005. Typical of Nikki, she survived longer than doctors and hospice thought she could.
The two most important things in Nikki’s life were family and giving back to the community. She was especially passionate about giving back to kids who, through no fault of their own, were burdened with challenges and lack of opportunity. She would be extremely proud and pleased to know her family has chosen to keep her memory alive through this golf tournament and at the same time making a difference in the lives of San Diego children.