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The Rev. Hugh Elton Nichols completed his earthly lif... Read More
The Rev. Hugh Elton Nichols completed his earthly life on Friday, Aug. 18th, 2023, after a long illness. The middle son of Mahlon and Ellura Nichols, Hugh was born in Owensboro, KY, and grew up in Greenville, Carlisle, and Nicholasville, KY. He later graduated from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY, where he met his future wife, Dee Dawson, and earned his Master of Divinity from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in Atlanta. Hugh and Dee were married in 1952. After Hugh finished grad school, they moved to Eagle Rock, Virginia, where he had a four-point charge and Dee taught school.
When he was seven years old he attended a revival meeting and heard a message based on Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” That night he opened his life to the ever-growing presence of Jesus. The joy of that experience, and that way of living, were his continuing call to ministry across the years.
Hugh’s forty years of ordained ministry were spent in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC). He served churches in Botetourt County (Eagle Rock area), Roanoke, Glen Allen, Buena Vista, Salem, Lynchburg, Norfolk, Alta Vista, Clifton Forge, and Chesterfield County. Hugh was a beloved minister who had special gifts for sharing the Gospel, administration, visitation, and especially for encouraging others. More than 50 years ago, while pastoring in the area, he helped pick out the land for the Roanoke District UMC’s Camp Alta Mons near Shawsville, VA. Over the years, his children, grandchildren, and recently, a great-grandchild attended the Camp and had many enjoyable times there learning about God and his creation. He was active in community service organizations such as Kiwanis and Lions Club, and supported the Roanoke Rescue Mission and other efforts to feed and house the needy. While living in Buena Vista during the aftermath of Hurricane Camille in 1969, he spearheaded efforts to feed people affected by the flooding, and get them the supplies they needed.
Hugh enjoyed hunting and fishing, especially with his son, Perry. He always had a wonderful garden, and also had fun being an amateur photographer, playing the violin, making up puns and jokes, and playing games with the family. Hugh kept his great sense of humor throughout his life, even in the midst of his suffering. After retirement, he and Dee lived at Smith Mountain Lake for a while, where they hosted many delightful family gatherings. They later moved back to Botetourt County, and finally to The Glebe Retirement Community, where Hugh served as the first president of the Residents’ Council there. Over the years, Hugh and Dee were active at Northview, Bonsack, and St. Mark’s UMC’s.
Hugh was preceded in death by his parents, his older brother Mahlon, Jr., and an infant son. He is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Dee Nichols. Also surviving are his younger brother, Davis (Dianne) of Renton, WA., his children, Sherrie Andrews (Clarke), Perry Nichols (Susan) and Terri Bradbury, seven grandchildren, Kirk Andrews (Bethany), Keelah Andrews Voll (Eric), Elise Nichols, Katelyn Nichols Cunningham (Landon), Brent Bradbury (Liz), Shelly Bradbury (Alex), and Staci Bradbury (Casey). He is also survived by nine great-grandchildren: Paxton, Wade, Avie, Vallie, and Susanna Andrews, Eliza and Esmae Voll, and Hudson and Sawyer Cunningham.
The scripture that Hugh wanted to be on his lips when he died is Luke 2: 29-32: “Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people. He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Online condolences may be expressed at www.Oakeys.com. Friends and family are invited to a Memorial Service to be held at The Glebe Retirement Community, 200 The Glebe Blvd., Daleville, VA 24083, on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, at 10:30AM. The family will be available for visitation 30 minutes prior to and following the service. Chaplain Gerri McDaniel and Rev. Samuel Plymale will officiate. Entombment will be private at Old Dominion Memorial Gardens.
Those wishing to make a memorial contribution might consider St. Mark’s UMC, 19 Cedar Ridge Dr., Daleville, VA 24083 or the VBH Foundation, 3961 Stillman Parkway, Glen Allen, VA 23060. The family would like to thank the staff of The Glebe, and Good Samaritan Hospice for their loving and compassionate care of Hugh.
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