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Mary Ann Nichols

September 23, 1931 - April 17, 2015
Vicksburg, MI

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Visitations


Thursday, April 23, 2015
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Vicksburg Location
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697
Driving Directions

Friday, April 24, 2015
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Vicksburg Location
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697
Driving Directions

Services


Friday, April 24, 2015
1:00 PM EDT
Life Story Funeral Homes - Rupert, Durham, Marshall & Gren
Vicksburg Location
409 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-1697
Driving Directions

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Country Christian Evangelical Church
9286 36th St S
Scotts, MI 49088
(269) 626-9733
Web Site

Heritage Christian Academy
6312 Quail Run Dr
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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Print

From wielding a chainsaw as she cut wood with her husband Steve, the love of her life, to training volunteers in first aid at the Red Cross, Mary Ann Nichols was a force to be reckoned with. Energetic and outspoken, Mary Ann was blessed with both a vision of a better world, and the ability to translate that vision into action. She touched many lives: as a volunteer, as a community leader, and above all else, as a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother. Mary Ann will always be remembered for her kindness and service to others, and her legacy will live on through all those who had the privilege of knowing this remarkable woman.

The 1930s were in many ways a somber decade, sandwiched between the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and World War II. For proud parents Roger and Mary (Day) Bryer, however, these difficult years were brightened by the birth of their first child, a daughter whom they christened Mary Ann. Mary Ann was born in the dawn of this complex decade, on September 23, 1931, and shared her birth year with the completion of the Empire State Building, the conviction of Al Capone on tax fraud charges, and the invention of nylons.

Born in Norwood, Massachusetts, Mary Ann soon moved to Medfield, Massachusetts. She and her younger sister, Jane, spent most of their childhood years in Medfield and Nedham (also in Massachusetts). Mary Ann attended a number of different schools over the years (12 in total), and at one point had to walk 10 miles to get to school! Smart as a whip, in addition to excelling in her classes Mary Ann also won the title of state spelling champion. Roger, her father, worked as a contract administrator during the war effort. Mary Ann surely inherited his organizational abilities, for many years down the road she would become a community leader and active volunteer in a variety of good causes.

The years sped swiftly by, and before she knew it Mary Ann had grown into a lovely and talented young woman. She continued to be an outstanding student, and graduated from high school in 1949 as the valedictorian of her class (full disclosure: her entire class consisted of 4 boys and 4 girls!). Mary Ann was awarded a full 4-year scholarship, and headed off to college.

Although Mary Ann had no difficulties with the academic rigors of higher education, it wasn’t long before she found something that held her attention more than books and classes (or rather, someone!). Enjoying a quiet meal in the cafeteria one day with a friend, Mary Ann spotted a young man walking through the door: Steve Nichols. Steve enjoyed the status of a big man on campus, since he had his own wheels (a car). Despite knowing nothing about Steve – not even his name – Mary Ann turned to her friend and said “He’s mine.” It proved to be an accurate prediction, for after a whirlwind courtship of 6 months, Steve and Mary Ann were united in holy matrimony.

As was the custom in those days, Mary Ann withdrew from college after getting married. Her first priority was to be a loving wife and mother, and she knew that it would be a full-time job! The newlyweds made their first home in a trailer parked between two buildings on the campus of Farmington State Teachers’ College. It wasn’t long before Mary Ann and Steve began to expect the arrival of a new family member, and nine months later they were blessed with the birth of a son, Gary. It wasn’t long before the Nichols family packed up and moved to Plainwell, Michigan where they lived with an aunt and uncle. In the years to come, Mary Ann and Steve were thrilled to welcome three more children into their home: Daren, Naomi, and Joni. Mary Ann was very active in the lives of her children, and passed on to them both impeccable manners and her own indomitable work ethic.

Their next stop was Lemon Park, where they stayed for about a year and a half. Finally, Mary Ann and Steve settled down in Vicksburg, Michigan, where they put down deep roots into local community life. Steve attended classes at Western Michigan University and found a job at Upjohn.

Mary Ann worked at Klein’s for a period of time, but she was a homemaker through and through. She took great pride in being a good housewife and a loving mother (although she herself was the first to admit that cooking wasn’t her strong suit!). Mary Ann took the skill set that would have served her well in the professional world (organizational abilities, strong work ethic, and people skills) and directed it into the equally deserving field of community service. She was a tireless reformer, particularly in the field of healthcare, and over the years Mary Ann’s roles included: first aid instructor for the Kalamazoo Red Cross, a founder of the Vicksburg Ambulance service, girl scout leader, softball coach, 4-H leader, and volunteer at Heritage Christian Academy. Mary Ann’s commitment to community service was underpinned by her deep Christian faith, and in fact she was one of the founders of the Country Christian Evangelical Church. She was also a very involved parent, and the terror of school principals and teachers!

In the final years of her life, Mary Ann remained active in the community. She loved spending time with her children and grandchildren, and attended every event she could.

Funny and outgoing, talented and kind, Mary Ann was a devoted wife, a loving mother and grandmother, a tireless volunteer, and a loyal friend. She will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many friends and family members.

Mary Ann Nichols died at the age of 83 on April 17, 2015, surrounded by her loved ones, from complications of pneumonia. Mary Ann’s family includes her children, Gary “the favorite” (Debbi), Daren (Nancy), Naomi (Howard), and Joni “the baby” (Tamara); her grandchildren, Misti, Jason and Jessica, Abraham, Bethany, Jedidiah, MoriahGrace, Tom, Chris, Doug, and Jeni; 15 great-grandchildren; her sister, Jane (John); and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 40 years, Steve.

Visit with Mary Ann’s family and friends and view her life story film from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, and from 12 to 1 p.m. on Friday, April 24, at the Life Story Funeral Home, 409 S. Main St (649-1697). A funeral service will be held 1 p.m. on Friday, April 24, at the same location. Memorial donations may be directed to the Country Christian Evangelical Free Church or the Heritage Christian Academy. Please visit Mary Ann’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com, where you can archive a memory or photo and sign her online memory book.

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