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NICHOLS, Barbara Lynne
Barbara Lynne Nichols, 73, of Whittier, California, passed away on
Friday, April 12, 2013, at her home surrounded by family and friends.
Barbara was born on March 8, 1940 in Coloma, Michigan. She was one of two children born to Pat and Iva Nichols of Spinks Corners, Michigan. She graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1958, and moved to Whittier, CA after graduating from
For many, Barbara's life provided lessons in courage, leadership and love. Barbara survived polio at age 12 during the 1952 epidemic, and lived an independent, adventurous, and socially engaged life despite her resulting physical disability.
Barbara's long professional career as a beloved special education teacher included 36 years at Little Lake School District, Santa Fe Springs, California (1964-2000).
The first of Barbara's numerous leadership roles was with The California Association of Neurologically Handicapped Children (an organization for parents which later became the Learning Disability Association of America). During her teaching career, Barbara held many offices in the Little Lake Education Association including President (1987-1990). The Little Lake Education Association and the California Teachers Association presented her a WHO award in 1989 for outstanding service to the profession.
Barbara's ongoing leadership, service, and volunteering included:
The California Retired Teacher's Association (President 2005-2011), The Whittier Accessibility Committee (2001-2012, several years as Chair), The Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital (volunteer for over 900 hours, member of The Board of Directors of The Auxiliary), The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Whittier (Board Member and Chair of several committees, including Membership and Adult Life Development, and leader of several courses of Build Your Own Theology), The Unitarian Universalist Church of Fullerton, and The American Association of University Women.
In addition to her professional and service accomplishments, Barbara's home was always open to gatherings of all sorts, where she entertained with flair. Book clubs, birthdays, baby showers, cookie-exchanges, and weekly game nights made Barbara's home a central hub for a large and constantly expanding circle of friends and family. Barbara showed unconditional love to everyone.
In her last years, Barbara valiantly faced the challenges of living with post-polio syndrome, as well as Parkinson's. Even through this, her continued enjoyment of friends and courageous outlook inspired us all.
Her family would particularly like to thank her many dedicated friends and caregivers who helped her enjoy her last years in her home.
Barbara is survived by her sister Peggy (James) Utterback of Newburyport, Massachusetts; niece Camille Utterback of San Francisco, California, and nephew Matthew (Danielle Stillman) Utterback and great-nieces, Leila and Yasmine of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; cousins, Vonnie DiCecco of Whittier and John (Mary Beth) DiCecco of La Mision, Baja California, Mexico and their daughter Vanessa of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and by many beloved cousins.
A public memorial service will be held at 4pm on Friday, June 21, at The Harmony Center for Spiritual Living, 12907 East Baily St., Whittier, CA.
The family requests donations in Barbara's honor be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, Grand Central Station, P.O. Box 4777, NY, NY 10163-4777 (
Published in Whittier Daily News on Apr. 25, 2013
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"I first met Barbara when I started working at William Orr School in 1980. As a special educator working..."
- Mary Jane Porteous
"My cousin, my friend, my confidant. I will treasure our memories forever. I will miss you always and..."
- Joyce Willming-Kile
"It was a pleasure to know Barbara. Her wonderful smile was a gift, her friendship a joy. Louise Holdne"
"Even though Barbara was one month younger than I, I always looked up to her as a wiser, more seasoned..."
- Pat Harris
"I met Barbara only once but was impressed immediately. She had the love and respect of her peers. I am..."
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