Leonard James Nicholls

HAWKINSVILLE, Ga. – Leonard “Bud” Nicholls, 84, died in Hawkinsville, Georgia, on April 23, 2013. He was born in Ishpeming, Michigan on February 23, 1929 to John and Myrtle Nicholls. His older brother, John S. Nicholls, predeceased him. Bud graduated from Ishpeming High School and Northern Michigan University. He received his Master’s Degree from Wayne State University. He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict.

He met Eleanor Zaborsky when she visited relatives who lived next door, and they married on August 1, 1953. Bud is survived by his wife of 60 years and their five children: Sam Nicholls, (Beaverton, Ore.), Evelyn Nicholls, (Vancouver, Wash.), Linnea (Stanley) Kava, (Buford, Ga.), Jennifer (Stan) Jones, (Boring, Ore.) and John Nicholls, (Hawkinsville, Ga.). Nine grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren also mourn his passing. He considered Sandra Nicholson Lee, of Deckerville, Michigan, his fourth daughter.

Bud was an educator. He began his teaching career in Detroit, MI, and spent many years at Bentley High School in Livonia, retiring as the long-time Science Department Chair. Bud also taught for several years in the math department at Schoolcraft Community College. At Bentley, Bud taught earth science, physics and math. His classroom was open every day after school for any student who needed help with their classwork, a quiet place to study, or just a sympathetic ear. Many knew that there was always a bag of caramels in his desk drawer. He was saddened when Bentley was torn down. A brick from the original building, a gift from a former student who scaled the fence during demolition and retrieved it, had a place of prominence on the windowsill of his living room.

He taught two generations how to catch trout; he taught countless people how to identify rocks and minerals; he was a ferocious bridge, pinochle and poker player; he was a voracious reader and a lifetime student of history and politics. Bud was a Mason for over 50 years and received the Order of the Purple Cross of the York Rite College. He was also a member of the American Legion.

Most important to Bud was his family. He saw that all five of his children had every educational and extracurricular opportunity available. Bud and Eleanor attended every sports event, school play, debating match, and Boy or Girl Scouting event possible, even away games; often they were the only Bentley parents in attendance. Both grandmothers lived in the family home late in their lives. Holiday meals were huge gatherings of extended family and friends.

In recent years, a variety of ailments diminished his ability to travel and his capacity to engage in the activities he loved. But they did not lessen his love for his family, the spark of life in his eye, or his sense of humor. He remained a man of honor, integrity and compassion. He will be remembered for those qualities and missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.