William Nichols

Obituary of William Burton Nichols

William Burton Nichols passed away in Salinas, California on May 11th, 2020 at the age of 60 years. Willie was born to Dr. Courtland Nichols and Sylvia Nichols in Madison, Wisconsin. He was named for his two grandfathers and was Bill to his mom and Willie to everyone else. His sisters Elizabeth, and Alice joined him later. The family moved to Paris, Texas; St. Charles, Illinois; Davis, California and finally Hollister, California following Court’s plant pathology and tomato breeding work. They settled in Hollister in 1969. Willie attended local schools where he grew to love anything related to science. He was always building model rockets and launching them in nearby open spaces. He enjoyed reading science fiction novels and was an original “Trekky.” He knew every episode of Star Trek. He also had many pet lizards, birds, hermit crabs, etc. Willie graduated from San Benito High School in 1978. He went on to take classes at Gavilan College. He met and married Alison in 1985. Their son Bryne was born in 1985. He married his second wife Julie in 1989. They had a daughter Eleanor in 1989. Willie moved to Santa Clara and worked for the Salvation Army for many years. He enjoyed playing golf with his son Bryne. He didn’t miss an opportunity to watch a S.F. Giant’s game. Willie also had a love of cooking. It brought him great joy to cook for a big crowd or just a small group. He returned to Hollister in 2019 with declining health, under the watchful care of his physicians, friends, and family until his death in May. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, an aunt, and three uncles. He is survived by his parents Court and Sylvia Nichols of Hollister, sister Liz Nichols and friend Guy of Hollister, sister Alice Millhollen and husband Bob, and their daughters Hailey and Hannah of Fresno, his son Bryne Nichols and wife Sara and their son Benjamin of Redding, and his daughter Eleanor Nichols also of Redding, along with numerous cousins in Wisconsin, Delaware, Hawaii and the UK. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation to The Community Foundation of San Benito County in care of the William Burton Nichols Scholarship fund that will be offered to San Benito High School seniors pursuing a 4 year college degree in an area of science. A time of remembrance of Willie’s life will take place when it is safe to do so.
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