Nicholas “Nick” Augustine Misko was a master shipbuilder from Biloxi, Mississippi. Like many Biloxi natives, Misko was of Slavic ancestry, his parents had immigrated from Yugoslavia and come through Ellis Island before settling in Biloxi. Nick was born on August 3rd, 1911 and would grow up around the maritime presence on the Gulf Coast, this culture was very influential in shaping his future career as a shipbuilder. Misko married Flavia Comeaux and they had two daughters, Geraldine and Donna. Despite only having a grade school education, Misko made a name for himself in the maritime industry designing Yellow Jacket wooden boats.
By the 1940s, Nick Misko was operating out of his own shipyard at 1809 E. Howard Ave. known simply as “Misko’s Shipyard.” During this time, Misko constructed a plethora of ships including fishing, shrimping, and pleasure boats. Misko was involved in the design and construction of the first charter boat designed for travel to Ship Island known as the Island Chipper. During World War II, Misko was not drafted into the war but was instead enlisted to aid in the war effort by designing PT boats and Landing Craft at Higgins Industries in New Orleans.
Once his duties were complete, Misko returned home to Biloxi and opened his own seafood factory which he briefly managed until the Hurricane of 1947 wiped it out completely. Misko continued to concentrate his efforts in shipbuilding and made a name for himself. In the mid-1950s, Misko was recruited by R.A. McDerby, a business partner of Roy Rogers, to work in Denison, Texas designing Yellow Jacket Boats. Many of these boats would go on to become collector’s items. While Misko enjoyed a large amount of success while in Texas, his passion for Biloxi led him to return to the Gulf Coast and reform Misko’s Shipyard.
Nick Misko was also known to work for various other shipyards including Covacevich Shipyard on the back bay of Biloxi. Organizing the new incarnation of his shipyard along the bay as well, Misko’s later years saw the completion of perhaps his finest work. This vessel was a sixty foot schooner designed with two masts. His masterpiece was dubbed the Flying Cloud, and was used to run parties in Florida. This period of time also saw the construction of the Antares, a forty-five foot personal pleasure craft designed for the mayor of Gulfport, Mississippi. The Omeco II was yet another pleasure boat designed by Misko, this one for the Orleans Materials Company in New Orleans.
When the time came for Misko to retire, his love for shipbuilding persisted and in his retirement he was known to construct scale replicas of ships he had built. These model ships became famous as well, and individuals were known to travel across the country to purchase them. In his retirement he moved back to Denison, Texas where he passed away on February, 5, 1994. Nicholas Augustine Misko’s legacy lives on through the numerous vessels and models he constructed throughout his lifetime, a physical testament to the absolute love and passion he had for the maritime life.