Garrett Clifford Nichols|
February. 12, 1928-July 22, 2013
Resident of Aptos
Garrett Clifford Nichols passed away peacefully just before midnight, Monday, July 22, 2013. He was 85 years old. He was born in Beardstown, Illinois - the Watermelon Capitol of the Nation - and raised near Bon Aqua, Tennessee until the age of 5, when his family moved to Pomona, California. He worked during his High School years at Betsy Ross Ice Cream Parlor, where his father, Garrett Sanford, was chief ice cream maker.
After graduating from Pomona High School, he attended Mt. San Antonio College and Pomona College, where he earned his bachelor's degree in History.
He married Ruth Marie Page of Pomona in 1950. The two of them began their life together as teachers at Oasis Elementary School in Thermal, California. Cliff, as he was known throughout his life, added to his professional resume by serving as the school bus driver during his time in Thermal.
Cliff enlisted in the Army near the outbreak of the Korean War. Promoted to Corporal, he taught map reading for the Fifth Armored Division at Camp Chaffee in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Upon completion of his military service, he returned to Pomona and resumed teaching elementary school. He continued his education, earning a Masters Degree in Education from Pomona College. Moving into administration, he became an elementary school principal. He completed his Doctor of Education degree at USC in 1969 and shortly thereafter administered one of the first Head Start programs in Southern California. He was then promoted to Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Pomona Unified School District, a position he held for many years until 1975 when he accepted the job of Vice President in charge of Business Affairs at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. He remained in that capacity at Cabrillo for 14 years and retired in 1988.
He returned to Cabrillo in 1990 to serve one year as President of the college. After again retiring, he continued to contribute to the college in various roles to work on several special projects, including the restoration of the Sesnon House after the Loma Prieta earthquake and the building of the Robert E. Swenson Library.
Cliff and Ruth traveled the country widely during retirement, including visits to every Civil War battlefield they came across, some of them twice. He also served for many years on the Santa Cruz County Fair Board of Directors.
Cliff is survived by Ruth, his wife of 63 years; three boys, Martin of Aptos, Garrett of Ben Lomond and Douglas of Hayward; three wonderful daughters-in-law: Brooke, Cat and Shoshana; and five grandchildren: Georgia, Emily, Garrett, Riley and Benjamin. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Cliff's name to the Cabrillo College Foundation. Services will be held at the Horticultural Building on the Cabrillo College campus at 2pm, Saturday, August 10.
Published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on Aug. 3, 2013