Olean R. Nicklas, chemical analyst

September 27, 2012

Olean R. Nicklas, 87, a chemical assay analyst who researched enriched uranium for the Manhattan Project, died Sept. 19 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville.

She had complications from a stroke, said her son Brian Nicklas.

Plyna Olean Rutland, a Potomac resident, was born in Cherokee, Ala. She moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn., in 1944 and was hired by the Y-12 electromagnetic plant, at that time part of the Manhattan Project, to develop an atomic bomb. As a chemical assay analyst, she examined the gaseous diffusion process used in uranium enrichment, her son said.

After the war, she continued working at the Y-12 plant for the company Union Carbide and later at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago.

She moved to Baltimore in 1955 and a year later moved to Riverdale. She settled in Potomac in 1969.

She enjoyed gardening and sewing. She was a Cub Scout den mother and a member of St. Raphael Catholic Church in Rockville.

Her husband of 47 years, John Nicklas, died in 1995.

Survivors include five sons, Jeffrey Nicklas of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, Martin Nicklas of Palisade, Colo., Brian Nicklas of Potomac, and Stephen Nicklas and John Nicklas, both of Bethesda.

— Megan McDonough