Howler Mourns a Heartbreaking Loss
April 27 was a very sad day when we learned that Nikki Durling, a dear member of the Howler family, had passed away after a long illness. Our shock and sense of loss were profound. Nikki was a joy to work with and be around. We loved her smile and her sense of humor. We marveled at her creative talents, infinite optimism, and ability to stay calm under pressure. We will miss her intelligence, wit and wisdom. We will also miss having after-school visits from Nikki’s beautiful young daughter, Simone
Nikki grew up in Florida, where she studied art history and French at the University of Florida. She later pursued a master’s degree in historical preservation at Savannah College of Art and Design. She traveled extensively in Europe and Asia before deciding to make Costa Rica her home, settling in Potrero.
Our love and prayers go out to Simone and to Nikki’s wide circle of friends and family. Rest in peace, angel.
Born to Create
Nikki’s passion for what she seemed born to do shined through her Facebook post on December 24, 2019.
If you would’ve told me a year ago — hell, even six months ago — that I would be doing one of my dream jobs, I would’ve laughed at you. But here I am! I’ve completed the layout and design for my second Howler issue and all I can say is WOW. I love this “job” so much. And I put “job” in quotations because it doesn’t feel like one at all. How does the saying go? Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
That’s exactly how I feel. Yes, my job is stressful, but only in moments. I never wake up and wish I didn’t have to go to work. My work time is flexible and 100% accommodating to my needs. Have I ever mentioned that I get to do it all from the beach in Costa Rica?!
Six months ago, I struggled to come to work four days a week in a job that had to be done in the office. It was toxic, I was over it and I was actively looking for something else. Then everything changed. The responsibility of Howler’s Creative/Art Director sort of fell in my lap and I haven’t looked back since.
It’s been amazing to go through my process of designing a magazine and comparing it to how the person before me worked. I look back now and knowing what I know, I’m genuinely baffled on why the person before me was so stressed about this.
Nevertheless, I am so happy and give a huge thank you to our team at Howler Mag. You guys rock and we killed it this time! And thank you, John, for taking a chance on me for this position. I feel blessed and can’t wait to see what the next six months bring to us.
Nikki stepped in and took the ball during a time that we had a change in the company. She was my right hand, she never said no to me, just figured it out and did it. She single-handedly took the Howler to a new level. I loved working with her. Her creativity and design sense was amazing. She was so organized and worked so diligently. I loved that she loved working here. Nikki was such a good mother to Simone. She encouraged her to let her creativity shine.
I was very devastated when I heard the news but I did not have time to grieve her loss because of the need to pick up very quickly where she had left off with the Howler. I know it will hit me hard once we have launched this e-magazine, which is dedicated to her.
Fly with the angels
— John Quam
Nikki’s loss is impossible to believe or understand. She was an extraordinary young woman — a gifted artist, a wise philosopher, a loyal, generous friend and an energetic, upbeat co-worker. Her vibrant spirit lives on in our memories and hearts. Nikki’s beloved daughter, Simone, is already growing up in her mom’s image to light up the lives of everyone lucky to know her. The world awaits Simone’s readiness to make her own mark as Nikki did before leaving us way too soon. May heaven be your new paradise, Nikki.
— Debbie Bride
To the end, Nikki was an example of living life to the fullest each day. With all the forces she had, despite her health challenges, she gave it her all as a mother, coworker, collaborator, and friend. I will always cherish memories of her beautiful smile and sweetness when speaking with each other.
— Marynes Fernandez
I sadly never had the pleasure of meeting Nikki in person, but drew inspiration from her drive and dedication daily, through our work together. It was a pleasure to work alongside Nikki for the better part of the last year and she will be missed dearly. She touched all of our lives and I am grateful for having known her, no matter how briefly.
— Kelly Norris