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James Russell Nichols

1937 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
James Russell Nichols Obituary
James Russell Nichols

Germantown, TN

James Russell [Jimmy] Nichols, 80, passed away February 15, 2017 in Memphis, TN. The family will receive friends from 1:30 p.m. until his memorial service begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, February 25 at Memorial Park Funeral Home.

Jimmy was the sixth of seven children of the marriage of Howard C. and Mada C. Nichols of Roanoke, VA. He was preceded in death by his parents; son, Air Force Major Howard Berkley Nichols of Aberdeen, MS; sisters, Francis N. [Ralph] Lucado of Largo, FL and Betty N. [E.V] Gillespie and brother, Howard [Betty] Berkley Nichols of Roanoke, VA. Jimmy is survived by his wife of 57 years, Nancy; two sons, James Russell Nichols Jr. of Memphis, TN and Timothy W. [Tracy] Nichols of Ripley, TN; grandsons, Cole and Tyler Nichols of Chattanooga, TN and Jacob Nichols of Chattanooga, TN; granddaughters, Ashlee Nichols of Lebanon, TN and Shelby Nichols of Ashville, NC; sisters, Barbara N. [Charles] Hines of Atlanta, GA and Peggy N. [Robert] McCormick of Roanoke, VA; and brother, Irvin Dosser [Ernestine] Nichols of New Castle, VA.

Jimmy grew up in Roanoke, VA and was educated in the Roanoke city school system. He graduated from Jefferson High School in 1955. His higher education began at Roanoke College in Salem, VA, while under a track scholarship, in pre-engineering. He continued on to Blacksburg, VA where he received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1960. Jimmy loved sports and played fast pitch softball and coached baseball and football in his earlier life. In later life he played golf at as often as he could. Jimmy began his employment career with the Boeing Co. in Seattle,WA and Kimball Neb and then to Huntsville, AL working on the Nasa Apollo Mission Projects, which he loved. Jimmy then worked for the U.S Postal Service in Memphis, TN until his retirement in 2001.

A special note from his granddaughter, Shelby Nichols --- In honor of the patriarch of our family, and the most intelligent man I've ever known... I wanted to take a moment to mention his life's work. Back in the day, my grandfather traveled around the nation installing minutemen missiles in the ground. He also wrote the engineering manuals for NASA, specifically for the Apollo 11 rocket mission to the moon (the rover included). The way I understand it, he laid the groundwork for developing control system strategies that they still reference today.
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Feb. 22, 2017
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