WILLIAM CHARLES "WHIMPY"
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LAKE WALES - William C. Nichols of Lake Wales, Florida, passed on to join family and friends the evening of February 16, 2013, due to respiratory failure at Winter Haven (Florida) Hospital with his immediate family at his side. Mr. Nichols was born to Charles and Doris Nichols in Gowanda, NY.
He spent much of his youth and adulthood with his dear "aunties" as well as most weekends at the Wienk farm. In later years, Nichols loved family reunions, often held on the farm in Otto, and later with the Burlingame family in Cassadaga. Many reunions and vacations involved camping trips with the Spinks and Wienks. With large hungry families needing to be fed, Nichols rigged up a way to cook pot roasts on the car manifolds while traveling, creating an amazing aroma, and stopping occasionally to rotate.
Nichols married Jeanne Carol (Barber) on October 16, 1954. He is survived by his only sibling, Jeanne (Nichols) Wienk who also resides in Lake Wales.
Surviving children are Debra Jeanne Nichols, Fran Porter, and Billie Cheryl (Nichols) Brown. Surviving grandchildren are Damon Lee Brown, Tonya Lyn (Brown) Erhart, Nicholas Shawn Gross, Nathan Allen Brown, Elizabeth Jeanne Brown, Kyle David Brown, and Kodie Robert Skeels.
Surviving great grandchildren are Morgan Louise Brown, Cloey Mae Case, Allie Rosealie Erhart, and newborn Kiley Rae Brown, who entered the world within hours after Nichols' passing.
Nichols and his former wife Jeanne helped raise many foster children.
Very special nephews Bill (Sandy), Jeff, and Tim (Gail) Wienk, and niece Penny Wienk were of continual support. Nichols' beloved pet dog, Heno, provided daily love and companionship.
Mr. Nichols was pre-deceased by his parents, Charles Almond Nichols and Doris Mae (Spink) Nichols Grube, children Shawn Nelson Nichols and Donna Lyn (Nichols) Brown, and grandchildren Stacy Mae Brown and Tristen James Nichols.
Mr. Nichols graduated from Cattaraugus Central School in 1949 and entered the Army shortly thereafter, serving in Japan and honorably discharged on December 8th, 1952, receiving the Korean War Service Medal.
His employment history included work at Cattaraugus' (NY) J & V garage with John Colvin and Vern Frank, repairing local dairy milk equipment including at Farner Parker (Gowanda, NY), and many years working Auto Body/ Mechanic and Sales with his father (Chuck) and Uncle Norton Nichols @ Nichols Collision in Cattaraugus. During this time, he also often served as substitute mail carrier for the rural routes in Otto and North Otto, allowing Elmer Beach respite. From there, he drove semi tractor trailers for Ditch Witch, often to and from Oklahoma, then worked with the Perkins brothers and Dave Cooper at P & C in Cattaraugus. His final employment history was with the Western NY BOCES system, teaching Auto classes in both Ellicottville and Fredonia. He retired to Lake Wales, Florida to be near his mother, his sister and other family members, spending dinner hours daily with his mother who was lived in a care facility for several years prior to her passing.
Nichols created a large number of close friends due to his expertise in baking and sharing with everyone. It was common place to see Mr. Nichols and his pet Heno driving to and from homes, delivering his latest goodies. Nichols loved the challenge of fixing, repairing or building most anything, including a collection of antique clocks that he learned to work with through friendship with Elmer Beach. He was an avid reader and maintained an interest in both Japan and Korea due to his service in the Army. He had a keen sense of humor and enjoyed entertaining as a story teller, with many of those stories repeated to and with him in his final days. He never met a stranger. His green thumb was evident with the flower and vegetable gardens he grew both in New York and Florida.
His remains will be shared as was his life, both in New York and in Florida. The family will respectfully have no services at this time. In honor of his many family members recently impacted by cancer, donations in Nichols' memory may be made out to either a local
event or to St. Jude's Children's Hospital, care of Debra Nichols, 180 South Main Street, Cattaraugus, NY, 14719.
Published in Ledger from Feb. 22 to Feb. 23, 2013