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Gerald Nichols

February 25, 2024

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Gerald Clinton Nichols, known to his friends as Jerry, age 74, passed away on February 25, 2024 at Carle Eureka Hospital. He was born on March 29, 1949, in St. Louis, MO, the son of Ethel B. Land and Donald Nichols.

Jerry met his wife, Ruth, during ballroom dance lessons at the Tiara Ballroom in 1979. They were married on March 12th, 1982 in Normal, IL, enjoyed dancing whenever possible, and enjoyed country living in Gridley, IL.

Jerry’s career included numerous roles as a Tool & Die Maker at different manufacturing companies, showcasing his skills and dedication throughout the years.

During high school, Jerry participated in the Diversified Occupations program, working first at Bloomington Battery before starting an apprenticeship as a Tool & Die Maker with K&K Tool & Die. He graduated high school in 1967, and completed his apprenticeship in 1971. He enjoyed working with the team at K&K for several years. During the Vietnam War, he worked in Area W at Eureka Advance Science Corporation, engineering solutions to improve the effectiveness of their production operations. He went on to apply his skills at SMF in Minonk, Grigoleit in Decatur, Interlake in Pontiac, Alexander Manufacturing in Towanda, and Tri-C in Eureka, before ultimately returning to work at K&K Tool & Die in Bloomington.

Jerry joined Bloomington Lodge #43 AF&AM in 1970, and enjoyed over 50 years of membership. He thoroughly enjoyed summer visits to the Scottish Rite Campground at Lake Bloomington.

He participated in the American Passion Play, alongside all of his children and his wife Ruth, for several years. He played the role of Uriah in the Sanhedrin for several years.

He loved to go fishing or boating whenever possible. For many years, he went to Oklahoma to fish with his Uncle Jerry, and his family, on Lake Eucha. He would bring home coolers full of fileted red-eared bluegill to freeze, fry, and share throughout the year. He loved to take friends boating and waterskiing, sharing his joy for the water with many.

Jerry will be remembered for his storytelling, innovative household repairs, and love of fishing, camping, dirt-track races, and spending time near the water, as well as solving innumerable engineering challenges. He was a dedicated supporter of 4-H, Rainbow Girls, Robotics and Wrestling, always willing to lend a helping hand. Jerry was known for his culinary skills, particularly his delicious but indulgent dishes, and for sharing an abundance of sweet corn and fish with family and friends.

He will be deeply missed by his wife Ruth, children Amy (Darren) Winters, Kim Nichols, Dan (Regina) Nichols, and Lori (John) McCarthy; grandchildren Hannah (Michael) Christopherson, April and Matthew Winters, Chloe Magnon and Owen McCarthy; great-grandchildren Ronan, Lilith, Violet, and Vincent Christopherson; siblings Kathy (Larry) Gordon and Debbie (Tim) Giesel. He is preceded in death by his father Donald Nichols, mother Ethel B. Land (Bates), and grandchild Ethan McCarthy.

A celebration of life is planned for family and friends on Saturday, March 9th, 2024, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 502 E Front St, Bloomington, IL 61701. The celebration will include a light lunch at 1:30 pm, a Masonic Rite and Brief Service at 2:30 pm, with fellowship to follow until 4:30pm.

Memorial contributions may be made to Wesley United Methodist Church; or Shriners Children’s.

1:30pm Light Lunch
2:30pm Masonic Rite and Brief Service
4:30pm Farewell

Central Cremation Center in Forsyth, IL has been entrusted with arrangements.