Vernon Lee Nichols, Jr. (Lee) passed away on November 20, 2012. He was 87 years old. Born June 15, 1925, to Ada Edna Nichols and Vernon Lee Nichols in Revere, Missouri, he grew up in the oilfields of southwestern Kern County, California, where he graduated from Taft Union High School in 1943. Lee enlisted in the Army Air Corps where he was commissioned as an officer and served as a navigator and bombardier flying missions over Italy in World War II. After the war he continued his service in the Air Force flying mapping missions and later serving in the Strategic Air Command. While stationed at Barksdale AFB near Shreveport, Louisiana he met the love of his life, Mabel Robinson, and they were married on September 13, 1952, in Tucson, Arizona. Lee left the traveling life of the Air Force in 1955 and went to work for the Standard Oil Company of California (now Chevron) in Coalinga, California, where his son Curtis was born in 1956. Lee's career as an accountant with Chevron took the family to Taft in 1961 and then to Concord in 1971 where he served as an accountant in the royalties section until he retired in 1982. In retirement Lee and Mabel enjoyed traveling and spending winters on the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nevada, where they especially enjoyed playing blackjack. In 2008 they moved from Concord to the Lodge at Paulin Creek in Santa Rosa. Lee is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Mabel, son and daughter-in-law Curt and Barbara Nichols, grandsons Ryan Nichols and Greg Nichols, brother Dean Nichols(Carolyn), nephews Bill (Gloria) Nichols, Jim (Edie) Nichols, Tom (Jo Anne) Nichols, John Nichols, Bob Morton, and Rick Nichols, and nieces Betty Jean (Roland) Wiebe and Charlynn (Clint) Harless. He was predeceased by his parents Vernon and Edna Nichols, sisters Betty Nichols and Garnet Long, and brothers Stuart Nichols and Eston Nichols. A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, 2012, at Pleasant Hills Memorial Park Chapel, 1700 Pleasant Hill Road, Sebastopol, CA. (707) 823-5042
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Nov. 27 to Nov. 30, 2012