Donald Eugene Nichols ("Nic"), Jr. passed away peacefully in Deland, FL, on March 13, 2017, after a brave and lengthy battle with cancer.
Nic was born in Helena, AR to Don and Lois Nichols on July 2, 1940. He spent his childhood in Valdosta, GA, growing up with his five brothers, Jim, Lyle, Gary, John, and Greg. An avowed intellectual, he was a member of Mensa, and was eventually known to his friends as "Doctor Nic". Nic graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Business Administration, which led to a successful career as a Mortgage Broker. More recently, as managing partner of San Marcos Valley, LLC, Nic has orchestrated the total conversions of older existing properties into quality and affordable housing for the elderly.
His quest for adventure never waned; he traveled the world extensively, managed a ski lodge in Aspen Highlands, ran a veneer mill in Bonifay, FL, and in his spare time built a harpsichord, a sailboat, and anything else he chose. Loving good music from an early age, Nic could play anything with strings, and enjoyed tutoring his younger brothers as soon as they were old enough to pick up a guitar. In 1963, Nic became fascinated with the then-new sport of Skydiving, and it soon became the passion of his life.
He was a pioneering member of the United States Parachute Association. with membership number 261. He would eventually complete more than 4,800 jumps, "from a perfectly-good airplane." He pioneered canopy stacking of parachutes and was a founding member of "Them Toadsuckers," well known in the sport. The overriding love in Nic's life was for his children, and for all children. He had a knack for finding the interest or curiosity a child might have, and encouraging it, be it a kite or a dirt-bike. This notable trait dove-tailed perfectly with his innate ability to tell a really good story... or several, if you had the time. Most of them were true.
Nic is survived by his children: Laurel, Natalie, Daniel, Bret, and Alison Nichols, and Wendi Ledford, as well as four grandchildren, Cruz Nichols, Lendi and Savannah Dickson, and Oliver Ledford; 2 great-grandchildren, Valentina Nichols and James Stapp; and his fianc‚e Mara Silies. He was predeceased by his son, Donald E. Nichols III. Wherever Nic is now, we are certain there is a bottle of fine wine and a ready parachute, both within reach; and he is smiling.
To celebrate the memory of the eventful life of Nic Nichols, there will be a gathering for his "Ash Dive", at Skydive Deland, 1600 Flightline Blvd., in Deland FL, on April 1, 2017. Times: Ash Dive, 3 p.m. Celebration ceremony, at 5 p.m. Bring your "Nic stories", fond remembrances, and your smiles.
"Listen to the song of Life."
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to www.HelpMeSee.org in Nic's memory.
Published on March 21, 2017