Nicholas Saul Wallen died unexpectedly on April 15. He was 34.

He was born at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on May 24, 1987, the son of James Wallen and Kathleen Smith. During his childhood and early teens his family lived in St. Thomas USVI, Nassau, Bahamas and Rome, Italy.

Nich became passionate about golf as a youngster and was a member of the Bahamas National Junior team. The family moved to the Vineyard full time when he was in high school. He attended MVRHS where he excelled academically, played varsity tennis and was an outstanding member of the varsity golf team which he captained in his senior year. After graduating in 2005 he studied at Brandeis University, where he also played varsity golf.

Nicholas was also an avid sailor, hiker, rock climber, skier and traveler. He made numerous passages between the U.S. and the Caribbean by sailboat, explored the North Coast of Cuba and sailed across the Pacific Ocean to New Zealand where he worked and explored for several months. He later spent a year in Maui where he became a proficient surfer, bicycled around Taiwan and traveled extensively in Southeast Asia and Central America. He hiked several volcanos in Central America and Mt. Rita Cuba Libre, an 18,000-foot peak in Columbia. Between adventures, Nicholas returned to Martha’s Vineyard, working as a carpenter, landscaper and house painter and to pursue his avocation, poker.

In addition to his parents Jim Wallen and Kathleen Smith of Aquinnah, he leaves heartbroken relatives: brother Zachary of Bergen, Norway and Aquinnah; aunts Joan Wallen of Andover, N.H., and Aquinnah, Barbara Wallen and her husband Gary Paraboschi of Aquinnah, Sandra Smith of New York city; and uncle Peter Smith of Thailand; as well as many cousins and friends.

A memorial is planned for later in the spring or summer.

Donations can be made to NAMI MV (National Alliance for Mental Illness) P.O. Box 2844, Vineyard Haven MA 02568, attention Lisa Belcastro. .