William Nichols

William A. Nichols

Monday, February 3rd, 1936 - Friday, July 24th, 2020
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William A. Nichols, prominent local businessman, passed away at home on July 24, 2020 after a long battle with cancer.

William was born February 3, 1936 in Benton Harbor to Chester R. Nichols and Madolyn (Byers) Nichols.

William graduated from Benton Harbor High School in 1954 and received his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in 1958. He served six years in the Michigan National Guard, achieving the rank of 1st Lieutenant, serving as platoon tank commander in Company A, St. Joseph.

After college, William joined his father, in his father’s glass, radiator, and battery repair business. He then established the auto parts division of Chet Nichols, Inc. which would grow to eight locations in South Western Michigan over a 60-year career.

Shortly after expanding Chet Nichols, Inc. into the auto parts business, William acquired Beaudette Motor Service company which provided a host of precision machining services including rebuilding engines.

In 1964, William married Jody/Jo Payne and together raised two children, Donald and Katherine Madolyn.

William was an active member of the Benton Harbor DDA-TIFFA (Downtown Development Association); a past President of the Benton Harbor Exchange Club; and a past President of the Ben-Jo Investment Club. He loved boating on Lake Michigan, taking long walks in the woods with his dogs, and was an avid practical joker.

William is survived by his wife Jody/Jo; his son Donald William of Chicago, IL; his daughter Katherine Madolyn (Carlos Gonzalez) of Lille, France; and his brother Robert G. of Greenwich, CT and Naples, FL. Donald’s two children are Cameron Nichols of Champaign, IL; and Jordan Nichols of Delray Beach, FL. Katherine Madolyn’s daughter is Amélie Gonzalez of Lille, France.

William was preceded in death by his parents.

In accordance with William’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. Interment will be at Crystal Springs Cemetery, Benton Harbor. Those wishing to share a memory of William online may do so at
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Claudia Hanley

Posted at 04:58pm
Prayers to you Jody and the whole family. Our family's were close years ago. Bill & Jody were always a special couple in my parents life. James & Delores Price and daughter Claudia Hanley (Price)

Debbie Gray and family

Posted at 01:36pm
With deepest sympathy. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead, and loving memories to forever hold in your heart.
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Daniel Stout

Posted at 10:07pm
So sorry to hear this. Bill was a wonderful man to work with. He was always willing to listen, didn't always agree with you or you with him but it never changed the mutual respect. Proud to have been a part of his company.
Daniel Stout.

Steve and Lisa Whitfield

Posted at 08:13pm
I began working for Bill while I was still in high school. The lessons he taught me still guide me today. Sorry for your loss my prayers are with your family.

Susan Dearing-Bond

Posted at 05:36pm
Kathy, Don and Jody - you are all in my thoughts and prayers. I have so many wonderful memories of our families together over the years. Love to each of you and your families.
Susan Dearing-Bond

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