Nicholas (Nick) Sassano passed away peacefully on July 5, 2019, at RiverStone Hospice after suffering a series of strokes. Nick lived independently and on his own terms for more than 90 years until his recent hospitalization and transfer to RiverStone. Nick was born in Billings on August 30, 1928. He was one of seven children born to Louis and Archangela Lombardozzi Sassano, Italian immigrants from San Marco, Italy. Nick is preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, Mike and Tony Sassano; and, three sisters, Michelina Sassano, Mary Schwend, and Columbia Meinhardt. He is survived by his brother, Father Rock Sassano of Beaverton, Oregon, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Nick graduated from Saint Patrick’s High School as one of the school’s first graduates in 1947. Nick described his high school experience as like ‘being part of one big family.’ He was a member of the National Honor Society and the Quill and Scroll as well as the staff artist for the school newspaper.
Nick lived the majority of his life in Billings that included a long career in banking at US Bank where he was beloved by both his colleagues and his banking clients. He treated everyone with special care and consideration and ‘went the extra mile’ for his clients especially those who were elderly and needing more of his time and guidance.
Nick was also a talented artist and gifted musician. He received little to no formal training in art or music and appeared to have these special talents as ‘a gift from God at an early age.’ Nick mastered the art of oil painting, watercolor, charcoal sketching, sculpture, and restorative art and conservation techniques. He was a master at the piano and organ and dedicated years of his life to providing beautiful music at church services, wedding, funerals, and public events in Billings. Nick was also a forerunner when it came to public art. He could create a phenomenal Christmas decoration for a large storefront and design and build a prize-winning float for a holiday parade without hesitation.
Nick was known as a man of incredible kindness and gentle spirit throughout his life. No matter what challenges he faced in life, he responded with grace and dignity. During his lifetime, he provided love and support to his extended family and many friends. He is described by one of his nieces, ‘Nick was not only family but a friend and a confidant. He didn’t judge and was always supportive of me. He always greeted me with a smile and a warm hug and he welcomed my family into his home and his life. I always loved visiting Nick. We talked about his life and our family history, food, art, music, and cooking. He made us laugh! He was kind and generous and had a beautiful spirit and we will miss him.’ A lifelong friend described him, ‘Nick was such a good friend for more years than I can remember. When we visited Billings, he was always our first stop! He would greet us with some Italian lingo that he said meant ‘nice to see you little scamp or devil’. He was my connection to my family's Italian past. There was always the scent of Nick’s special pizza baking, a bowl of chocolates on the coffee table, and cheese treats for my dog.’ Nick will be remembered for his warmth and generosity by all of his family and friends who were lucky enough to know him.
Nick’s family would like to thank the medical and support staff at the Billings Clinic Hospital, Saint Johns United, and RiverStone Health Hospice for their compassionate care of Nick during the final three weeks of his life, especially Thomas Brockhoft, MD and Jonathan Bui, MD.
A funeral service and celebration of Nick’s life is scheduled for July 15 (Monday) at 1 p.m. at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary in Billings, Montana followed by a burial service at Mountview Cemetery where Nick will be buried next to his mother. Memorials in Nick’s name are suggested to the RiverStone Health Hospice House at 2230 Mission Way, Billings, MT 59102. To leave a remembrance of Nick for his family, visit www.michelottisawyers.com