In Memory

Caroline Nichols

Caroline R. Nichols, 75, formerly of Flagstaff, died Thursday, April 6, 2006, in Tucson.

Mrs. Nichols was born July 16, 1930, to Lonetta and Raymond Wetzel in Louisville, Ky. She went to elementary school in Shively, Ky., south of Louisville, and upon graduation from Valley High School in 1948, was offered music scholarships at several colleges. During high school she had participated in several special vocal groups in Louisville, including radio broadcasts.

Mrs. Nichols attended the University of Louisville until her father moved the family to Evansville, Ind., to be head of air pollution control there. She then attended Evansville College, where she met Paul Nichols during the 1950-1951 school year. The couple were engaged at Christmas of 1951. While in college, they both worked for International Harvester in Evansville. They were married in Evansville on Feb. 9, 1952. Mr. Nichols left for U.S. Army basic training in May of 1952, and Mrs. Nichols joined him at his assignments in Manhattan, Kan., and on Cape Cod, followed by Long Island, N.Y.

When Mr. Nichols was sent overseas to Japan, Mrs. Nichols took a teaching position at the State School for the Blind in Bathgate, N.D. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1954, both Mr. and Mrs. Nichols went to Indiana University School of Music to finish their degrees. While there, Mrs. Nichols worked in the psychology department.

Upon graduation from Indiana University in 1956, Mr. Nichols took his first band director position in Stuart, Neb., and their first daughter, Faun, was born, After two years, the family moved to Iowa for teaching jobs in Walnut and Marcus and celebrated the births of two more daughters, Vicky and Leslie. Shortly after, the Nichols family moved to Logansport, Ind., where Mrs. Nichols had a very successful private lesson studio teaching many piano and voice students. While in Logansport, she also enjoyed being a Girl Scout leader and working as a church secretary at First United Methodist Church. Every Christmas she sang the alto solos in the community's performance of the "Messiah." After 10 years of teaching in Logansport, they moved to Rushville, Ind., followed by Alamagordo, N.M. Since both Mrs. and Mr. Nichols were teachers, the Nichols family traveled most of their summer vacations camping in state and national parks all over the United States and visiting many historical sites, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

After their daughters graduated from high school and were in college, the couple began teaching overseas for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, holding music positions in Sembach, Germany, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Bermuda. They spent one sabbatical school year in Flagstaff while Mr. Nichols worked on his doctorate at Northern Arizona University and was the assistant band director at Flagstaff High School. After that year, more teaching positions were held in Woodbridge, England, Subic Bay, Philippines, and Okinawa, Japan. Mrs. Nichols taught private piano and voice lessons on all of the military bases and while in Okinawa, she also taught piano, voice and music at the Okinawa Christian School. At times, she had as many as 50 students a week for private lessons. She was a very devoted music teacher. Many of her students have gone on to major in music in college.

In 1994, Mr. and Mrs. Nichols retired to Tucson and enjoyed traveling on cruises, RV tours and trips to various locations, and visiting their daughters and their daughters' husbands. Beginning in the summer of 2002, and continuing through September 2005, Mrs. and Mr. Nichols volunteered for the Peaks Forest Ranger Station, U.S. Forest Service, in Flagstaff.

Mrs. Nichols will be remembered for her lively and bubbly personality, sunny smile and outlook, love of life and her love and devotion to her family.

Mrs. Nichols is survived by her husband of 54 years, Paul Nichols; and her three daughters, Faun (Randy) of Flagstaff, Vicky (Jim) of Tucson, and Leslie (Peter) of Yachats, Ore.