Frances Hardison Nichols
1926 - 2020
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Frances Hardison Nichols ARVADA, CO -- Frances Hardison Nichols, formerly of Fort Worth, died of natural causes on May 30, 2020, in Denver, Colo. MEMORIALS: Donations in her memory and in honor of a life well lived may be made to the Webb City Friends of the Library, 101 South Liberty, Webb City, Mo. 64870 Frances was born in Wake, Texas on April 6, 1926, and was raised in Eunice, N.M., as the second eldest of nine surviving children. Her parents, Fonnie Franklin Hardison and Eula Johnson Hardison, were believers in education. Her father, having completed only 6th grade, earned his GED during the depression. He served on the Eunice School Board for over 30 years. Though of modest means, the children were encouraged to go to college and most did. Frances majored in music at Texas Wesleyan College. During that time, she met her dear Bob, Robert Nichols. They were married on June 8, 1948 soon after she graduated. Life with Bob was an adventure that included four children. After moving to a farm northeast of Dallas, Frances taught in a small school as a choir, band, world geography, and Spanish teacher. She was a skilled pianist and singer, but scrambled to learn enough about geography, Spanish, and band instruments to give her students a sound education. She succeeded. The worst experience of her and Bob's lives was the loss of their eldest son, Bobby, when he was killed by a drunk driver the week before he was to begin college. Frances was a devoted grandmother. When her grandchildren were young, they would descend upon her home in Fort Worth to eat raw chocolate chip cookie dough (and the baked cookies!), tell jokes, climb trees, and hear her made-up-on-the-spot mysteries which always starred the six grandkids going around the world to solve mysteries. Later, those international adventures would be realized with family trips to Scotland, Italy, and more. Frances and Bob were avid travelers and wanted their children and grandchildren to join in the fun. When the grandchildren were older, the trips were preceded by studies on the culture and history of each country carefully researched by Frances. Frances was a civic leader and community organizer, serving as president of the Fort Worth, Texas, League of Women Voters, steering the Fort Worth Library Board as president when the main library and a branch library were built, reinvigorating the Fort Worth Friends of the Library as president, and more. She was honored as one of The Distinguished Women of Fort Worth. Later, she and Bob would move to Webb City, Mo., where she was active in the Webb City Friends of the Library, Central United Methodist Church, and the American Association of University Women. She was a strong supporter of the Webb City Farmers Market, as well as of the Lafayette House domestic violence shelter, and many other causes. She was also her children's and her grandchildren's greatest cheerleader and supporter. Frances was politically active. In her late-70s, she rode with a busload of other activists from Springfield, Mo., for a demonstration on the national mall in Washington, D.C. Committed to an engaged citizenry, she spent many hours at the farmers market helping people to register to vote. She was a passionate supporter of women's issues and social justice. Though dementia slowly robbed her of her memories over the last 15 years, Frances remained kind, caring, and interested in the world around her. Bob preceded her in death on May 8, 2015, having served as her devoted care giver. Among the few blessings of dementia was that Frances no longer grieved the loss of her son or husband. In addition to her husband, Bob, and son, Bobby, she is preceded in death by four of her siblings, Curtis, Melvin, James, and Kenneth and by both parents. SURVIVORS: Frances is survived by three of her children, Eileen (Phil) of Webb City, Mo., Bill (TJ) of Arlington and Mike (Ana) of Dalworthington, Texas; six grandchildren, Alex (Liz) of Seattle, Wash., Cora (Emmanuelle) of Lyon, France, Bobby of Fort Worth, Emily (Kit) of Denver, Colo., Matthew of Haltom City, and Erica (Jeremy) of Arlington; six great-grandchildren, Madeleine, Josephine, Wyatt, Emma, Zoey, and Leonora; four siblings, Mary (Buzz) of North Platte, Neb., Kay of San Angelo, Texas, Bruce (Renee) of Hobbs, N.M., and Don (Cheryl) of Amarillo, Texas; and by her dear friends and caregivers Shannon and Tracy.

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Published in Star-Telegram on Jun. 11, 2020.
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