Nitchals, perhaps best remembered as the man who convinced notorious junk e-mailer Sanford Wallace to dedicate himself to cleaning up the Internet, died last Friday of a massive brain hemorrhage.
In the pursuit of fighting junk e-mail, an often-contentious arena, Nitchals was known for his sense of tact and his belief in calm negotiation.
"His 'voice of reason' and dealings in several high-profile incidents made him someone to look up to," wrote one mourner on a Web site created in Nitchals' memory.
Similar memorials poured into that site and the news.admin.net-abuse.email forum on Usenet, a gathering place for the most prominent junk-e-mail fighters. Many of those writing had never seen Nitchals in person, carrying on their relationships through the Internet and telephone alone.