James Luther Nichols Jr.

Obituary
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  • " Mr. Nichols was a prince of a man. It is evident by the..."
    - Carey and Kay Everett
  • "Jana, JL, Fran,Jeff &Diane Rand Our family will be praying..."
    - Stebie WellsThompson
  • "ToThe Family, as a young and very green salesman that had ..."
    - Rick Sanders
  • "To Nichols family: Mr Nichols was a great man that I am..."
  • "TO Jimmy's family: He was the only man I knew who had his..."
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JAMES LUTHER NICHOLS, JR.

James (Jimmy) Luther Nichols, Jr., age 91, of Wallace, peacefully departed his earthly life to his eternal life in Heaven, Sunday, January 2, 2011, at home surrounded by his loving family.

Jimmy was born in Spartanburg, SC, November 27, 1919. He was preceded in death by his parents, Arline Noble Nichols and James Luther Nichols, Sr.: his wife Frances Rivenbark Nichols in 2004: and two siblings, Loretta Nichols Clements and Charles E. Nichols, Sr.

Jimmy was a loving and devoted son, brother, brother-in-law, nephew, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle and friend. He is survived by his five children, Sara Nichols Temple and husband Terry of Leland, J. L. Nichols, III of Wrightsville Beach, Jana Nichols Cottingham and husband Bill of Wilmington, Fran Nichols Brock and husband Clayton of Wallace and Sue Ann Nichols of Wilmington; one sister Margaret Nichols Wallace and husband Cecil F. Wallace, Sr. of Greensboro (formerly of Wallace); two sisters-in-law Fuzzy Swane Nichols of Greensboro and Sarah Teachey Rivenbark of Wallace; three grandchildren, James L. Nichols, IV and wife Amanda of Charlotte, Sara Frances Cottingham of Greensboro and Paul Cottingham of Wilmington; two great-grandchildren Sutton and Colter Nichols of Charlotte; 19 nieces and nephews; many grandnieces and grandnephews and a host of friends.

Jimmy moved with his family in 1920 to Greensboro, NC when his father became the general manager of Thomas and Howard Company. As a child, he attended First Baptist Church of Greensboro where he made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ at the age of 11. He attended Greensboro public schools and completed high school and received an Associate Degree in Business in 1939 at Oak Ridge Military School, Oak Ridge, NC. He then worked for Thomas and Howard Company, Charlotte, NC until he was ordered to active duty in the U.S. Army, February 1942. While in the military, he and Frances were married Dec. 29, 1942. He was honorably discharged with a rank of Major and resumed employment at Thomas and Howard in Waynesville, VA. In 1946 they moved to Frances' hometown of Wallace and Jimmy started N & W Grocery Co. (now Nichols Foodservice, Inc.) with his partner, Cecil Wallace, Sr.

Jimmy Nichols was a very busy man with a strong sense of purpose and the desire to serve others in many capacities. In 1948 he was appointed the first commanding officer of the National Guard in Wallace, NC. N & W Grocery Co. was liquidated in 1979 when Mr. Wallace retired, and Jimmy continued the business as Nichols Foodservice, Inc. He received an innovative distributor award of merit from Institutional Distribution magazine in 1981 and in 1989 he received Restaurant Supplier of the Year designation from the North Carolina Restaurant Association.

He served as Sunday School Superintendent, teacher, deacon, Chairman of the Board of Deacons, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Chairman of Fundraising for two major building programs. In 2000, First Baptist Church of Wallace honored him with the title of Deacon Emeritus. He held several offices in the Wilmington Baptist Association, was on the Gardner-Webb College Board of Trustees 1964-1976 with the last two terms as Chairman of the Board. He was on the Campbell University Presidential Board of Advisors 1995-1997 and in 1999, Jimmy and Frances endowed the "Frances and Jimmy Nichols Divinity Scholarship" at Campbell University.

In his community he served as Director of the Wallace Development Corporation 1956-1989, first President of the Wallace Sewing Company, President of Duplin County Economic Development Commission, Town of Wallace Commissioner for four terms, BB&T Board of Directors and the Duplin General Hospital Foundation Board of Directors 1994-1997. He was a member of American Legion Post #0156.

He enjoyed family meal times and Frances' cooking, the beach, deep sea fishing and cruising along the waterway in his boat. He was a "people" person who never met a stranger; had a great sense of humor; greeted people with a smile, a twinkle in his eye and a friendly handshake; respected all people regardless of color or status in life, saw the good in people and was an honest and fair man. He will be dearly missed by all who had the opportunity to know and love him.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 2:00 pm Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at the First Baptist Church of Wallace. Dr. Dennis Bazemore, Rev. Jim Baldwin and Rev. Phil Rivenbark will conduct the service. Interment will follow in Rockfish Memorial Cemetery, Wallace. Pallbearers will be Charles Nichols, Jr., Robert V. Nichols, David Rivenbark, Jr., Terry Rivenbark, Ben Rivenbark and Cecil Wallace, Jr., all nephews. Honorary Pallbearers will be his Men's Bible Sunday School Class.

The family will receive friends at Padgett Funeral Home Tuesday, January 4, 2011 from 5:30 pm until 7:30 pm and other times at Mr. Nichols' residence, 202 N. Teachey Road, Wallace, NC.

Memorials may be made to The Frances and Jimmy Nichols Divinity School Scholarship, Campbell University, Office of VP for Business and Treasurer, P.O. Box 97, Buies Creek, NC 27506; First Baptist Church of Wallace, 408 West Main Street, Wallace, NC 28466 or a charity of ones choice.

The family thanks his personal caregivers Brenda Brinkley, Linda Watkins, Mary Ritz; the staff of Carolina East Home Health, and Dr. Marsha Fretwell for their loving and compassionate care.

To sign the guestbook visit www.padgettfuneralhome.net. Padgett Funeral Home and Cremation Service.

Online condolences at StarNewsOnline.com

Published in the Wilmington Star-News on Jan. 4, 2011