Alma Nickelson
systems engineer

Alma Nickelson, 71, a systems engineer for 30 years with Mitre Corp., died Jan. 28 at her home in Sterling.

She had a heart attack, said her daughter, Joyce E. Nickelson.

Alma Joyce Rice was a native of Fairmont, W.Va. She was a 1962 graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and received a master’s degree in mathematics from Northeastern University in 1966. Thirty years later, she received a master’s degree in management science from American University.

As a young woman, she worked for Chance Vought Aeronautics in Dallas and for Mitre in Bedford, Mass. She came to the Washington area in 1974 to open and manage the Falls Church branch of SofTech.

From 1982 to 1986, she was president and co-owner of Effective Software Solutions in Vienna. She returned to Mitre in McLean in 1986 and worked there until retiring in 2007.

She continued to work part-time for Mitre in retirement and also taught mathematics at Strayer University in Washington.

Her marriage to Richard L. Nickelson ended in divorce. Survivors include a daughter, Joyce E. Nickelson of Tuscaloosa, Ala.; a brother; a sister; three grandchildren; and six-great-grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes