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Rachel Nichols

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Rachel Nichols Obituary
RACHEL E. NICHOLS, 86 ROCKFORD - Rachel E. Nichols, 86, of Rockford, died peacefully at 9 a.m. February 8, 2014, in her home. Born April 15, 1927, in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, she was the third child of Dr. Leo Brauchle and Zelda Brauchle. Rachel was raised in Kewaskum, where she was an honors student at Kewaskum High School and involved in many activities, including cheerleading, girls' chorus and student council leadership. After graduating in 1945, she pursued pre-nursing courses at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Illinois and attended school at the Northwestern University School of Nursing, graduating in 1949. While in nursing school, she met and dated University of Illinois dental student, Charles (Chuck) Nichols. They were married on June 24, 1950. After his graduation from dental school and service in the U.S. Army in Korea, he was transferred to Sasebo, Japan, where Rachel joined him for a year of exploration and travel. In 1954, they moved to Rockford, Illinois, where her husband established a successful dental practice, and she served as a nursing instructor at Rockford Memorial Hospital. Following the adoption of their children, Rachel became very active in numerous community organizations and Westminster Presbyterian Church. She was a member of the Rockford Junior League, Rockford Women's Club, University Club, Rockford's PEO International Chapter and local ET and the Rockford Memorial Auxiliary, where she served as the Big Top Rummage Sale manager for many years. She also volunteered in the schools for the Rockford Art Museum and for Meals on Wheels. Since the 1950s, she has actively supported the Illinois Children's Home and Aid Society, providing volunteer leadership and coordinating their annual Bridge Marathon fundraisers. She has also been a dedicated member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, where over the years she served as a deacon, elder and Sunday School teacher. More recently, she has served as chairman of the Scholarship Committee, which awards scholarships to the church's college students. In addition to her community advocacy and commitment to her family, Rachel had an adventurous spirit, involving family and friends in alpine and cross country skiing in Colorado, sailing trips in the Virgin Islands and many U.S. and international trips. She continued to travel and ski well into her 80s, and loved spending time with her family, including her grandchildren and great- grandchildren. Rachel was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Chuck, who died in March 2009. She is survived by her daughter, Patricia (Scott) Perrin of Denver, CO and William (Julie) Nichols of Wenatchee, WA; sister-in-law, Mary Brauchle; grandchildren, Gregory and Jeffrey Perrin, Boulder, CO, David Nichols, New York City, Ian Nichols, London, England and Amanda Mihelic (Mark) of Weston, CT; great-grandchildren, William and Avery Mihelic; numerous nieces and nephews; as well as her very dear friends and neighbors, who have provided such wonderful love and support during her illness. A memorial service and celebration of her life will be held at 10 a.m. on May 9, 2014, at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church or the Illinois Children's Home and Aid Society.
Published in Rockford Register Star from Feb. 15 to Feb. 16, 2014
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