Don Nickerson, the first African-American man to serve as U.S. attorney in Iowa, passed away Sept. 10. Nickerson was born on Aug. 24, 2951, on a 15-acre farm near Wilmington, Delaware. Nickerson’s education brought him to Iowa State University, where he graduated in 1974 with degrees in journalism and sociology. After graduating, Nickerson stayed in Iowa and attended law school at Drake University.
He began his law career in private practice and represented federal crime defendants and handled immigration cases at his private law firm, Babich & Nickerson.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Nickerson to be U.S. attorney for Iowa’s Southern District. He was confirmed, making him the first African-American U.S. attorney to serve Iowa. After his time as U.S. attorney ended, Nickerson continues to serve Iowa. He was appointed to Polk County 5th Judicial District in 2003 and retired from the position in 2011, retiring to Palm Beach Florida. He is survived by his wife, Debbie Ashworth Nickerson, and three children.