Nicolette ‘Nicky’ Mesiah, 67, activist and entrepreneur | Featured Obituaries

Dale Anderson

February 20, 1955 – March 30, 2022

Nicolette “Nicky” Mesiah started achieving great things while still in high school. In 1972, when she was 17, she chaired Buffalo’s campaign for presidential candidate Shirley Chisholm.

“I was walking into the house one day and there were all these white men in white shirts and ties in the living room,” said her younger sister Francesca Mesiah, “and my mom told me to go back outside and play. I found out they were Secret Service people and they were talking about Shirley Chisholm coming to the house.

Ms. Mesiah became a sales manager at two national companies, then went on her own as an entrepreneur, producing gourmet baked goods. She died March 30 at her Buffalo home after a battle with breast cancer. She was 67 years old.

Buffalo-born, the second of three daughters of local civil rights leader Frank Mesiah, she attended kindergarten through 12th grade at Campus School, the Buffalo State College Learning Lab. During her high school years, she also served as class president and worked for several other political campaigns.

She went to Mount Holyoke College, where she spent a semester as an administrative aide to Richard G. Hatcher, the first African-American mayor of Gary, Ind. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in economics in 1977.

After college, Ms. Mesiah worked as a copy assistant at the Buffalo News, then in 1980 joined the management training program at JC Penney Co. As a women’s clothing buyer, she ran a promotion for the monogram shop from his store which was so successful that it was adopted by the entire company.

In 1985, she then worked for Coty Cosmetics, a division of Pfizer, where she managed sales in the New York metro area and was inducted into the company’s exclusive President’s Club. She then worked for the Origins line of organic skincare products.

After attending celebrity chef Peter Kump’s New York cooking school, Ms. Mesiah moved to Montclair, NJ, and in 2002 turned her passion for cooking and entertaining into a business, Mesiah Event Planning, with a business secondary in the restoration called Miss Nicky’s.

With an emphasis on healthy ingredients, she developed BFE (no butter, no flour, no egg) cookies for cosmetics entrepreneur Bobbi Brown, a Montclair resident who has featured Ms. Mesiah in videos.

Best known for Miss Nicky’s Gourmet Toffee, her customers included poet Maya Angelou and CBS News morning show host Gayle King. Her caramel was featured in gift bags given to guests of the Tuskegee Airmen’s Ball during President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.

In Montclair, Ms. Mesiah was active as a volunteer in community activities ranging from wellness fairs to library fundraisers. She has helped cancer patients with their hair and makeup and has worked with Jazz House Kids, which provides music lessons for young people.

The Jazz House Kids Facebook page noted, “Like many in Montclair, we mourn the passing of Nicky Mesiah. Her smile and sweetness could brighten up any day.

Ms. Mesiah also hosted a health and nutrition show on the Boomer Radio Network online and contributed to the Women’s Radio Network.

For many years, she helped organize the annual Crescent Avenue Block Club party in Buffalo and was active in the NAACP. She was a trustee of Canopy of Neighbours, which supports older people who want to continue living independently. Like her mother, Ulrica, she was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the nation’s oldest black sorority.

Ms. Mesiah recently retired and moved back to Buffalo.

Survivors include two sisters, Leza Mesiah and Francesca Mesiah.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on April 23 at St. John the Baptist Church, 184 Goodell St.

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