John W. Nichols

Saturday, July 2, 2011

John W. Nichols, 87, Nevada, died Friday, July 1, 2011, at his home in Nevada. He was born Aug. 17, 1923, in Elizabethtown, Ky., the son of Roger W. and Elizabeth L. Robertson Nichols.

Elizabethtown was the almost birth place of Abraham Lincoln. Abraham's parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln were married in Elizabethtown; their marriage license is recorded in the local court house. They lived in and around Elizabethtown for 12 years.

John was raised on a small farm during the Great Depression. He knew what it was to work hard and have little. He graduated from Glendale High School in 1942. Following graduation he began working in the concrete laboratory at Ft. Knox, Ky. In December 1942, he resigned his defense job, where he could have stayed for the duration of World War II, to enter the Air Force Jan. 4, 1943. He was honorably discharged Dec. 8, 1945, as a S/Sgt. having served two and a half years in the C.B.I. Theatre (China, Burma, India). He received two bronze stars, the Presidential Citation, China's White Cloud Award, Good Conduct Victory Medal, and several others.

Following the war, John began working again at Ft. Knox, Ky., as a blueprint photostat operator where he met Katherine Stark. (He said this was the second finest thing that ever happened to him; the finest thing was when he met Christ and surrendered unto Him). They were married Jan. 24, 1947, in the pastor's study of the Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Ky. In the fall of 1947, John was converted through faith in Christ and was baptized into the Severns Valley Baptist Church (the oldest church outside of the 13 original colonies, established in 1792 and still going great today with more than a 1,000 in S.S.). John announced at his baptism that he had heard and accepted the call to preach. He graduated from Georgetown Baptist College, Georgetown, Ky., in December 1951 and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky., in 1954. Severns Valley Baptist Church ordained him March, 1954. He and Katie served the Glenville Baptist Church, near Owensboro, Ky., for two and a half years, moving to Nevada, Mo., on Jan. 4, 1957. John was pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church for six years, then director of missions of Nevada Baptist Association for 25 years, semi-retiring on May 31, 1987.

All three of the Nichols' children, Carol Jean Nichols, James M. Nichols and John S. Nichols, graduated from Nevada High School and from the University of Missouri.

During the many years in Nevada, the family had been active in lives and in the life of the community. John served on the Nevada R-5 School Board for 15 years. He was a charter member of the Vernon County Historical Society, where for years he worked as a volunteer keeping the museum open. He served as Little League and Jr. League BB manager for 17 years. For 27 years he directed the city wide collection of clothes for the Indians of Oklahoma. He served on the Missouri Baptist Children's Home Board in St. Louis for 12 years and served one term on the Nevada Planning Commission. He conducted 1,539 funerals in the area. John continued to preach Sunday morning services at Sylvan Dale Baptist Church until near time of death. He and Katie had been members of little Sylvan Dale Baptist Church since 1962.

Survivors include, besides his wife, Katie, three children, Carol Jean Nichols, Durham, N.C.; James M. Nichols and his, wife, Marilyn, Nevada; John S. Nichols and his wife, Melissa, Philippines; five grandchildren, Alison L. (Nichols) Smith and her husband, Jeremy, St. Louis, Mo., Lori A. Nichols, Kansas City, Cameron Nichols and Elyse Nichols of Austin, Texas, and Chase Nichols, Philippines; three great-grandchildren, Carson, Maison and Knox Smith, St. Louis; one sister, Jane Grimes, Elizabethtown, Ky.; and one nephew, Dale Nichols and family, Bowling Green, Ky. He was preceded in death by one brother, Roger Nichols Jr.; and one sister, Barbara Ann Nichols.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 5, at the First Baptist Church in Nevada, with the Rev. Hubert Fox officiating. The family will receive friends from 4:30-6 p.m., Monday, July 4, at Ferry Funeral Home. Interment will be in Newton Burial Park, Nevada. Friends may call now and until 6 p.m., Monday, at the funeral home.

Those who wish may contribute to Heartland Hospice or the Nevada High School Girls Basketball Team in care of Ferry Funeral Home, 301 S. Washington, Nevada, MO 64772.

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